THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain

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What is hate crime and does it matter?

Law came into existence for practical purposes. By offering peaceful resolution of disputes, it reduced violence; for example acts of revenge and feuding. By prohibiting force and fraud it facilitated peaceful trading and made the modern world possible. The post-Enlightment West – certainly the Anglo-Saxon Common Law part of it – has therefore usually operated under the practical principle that;

If it is not necessary to make a law, it is necessary NOT to make a law. 

The 20th Century may one day be analysed by historians in terms of its retreat from that principle. In Common-law countries, "judge made law" (we Common Lawyers prefer to think of it, quasi-mystically, as "discovered" by the judges rather than made) still develops incrementally for practical reasons, but many modern statutes in both Civil and Common Law jurisdictions are now essentially didactic in purpose. They set out to change "wicked" minds, not inhibit wicked behaviours. Very often they are designed to appropriate an emotional word (e.g. "hate" or "discrimination" or "racism") and constrain its meaning to fit leftist ideology. Or to invent new words like "islamophobia" or "transphobia" to suit an ideological purpose.

As The Diplomad recently observed,  

Words have meaning, and the left is very good at ever so subtly altering the meaning of words so that over time those words no longer mean what they meant. Words, of course, are the bullets of intellectual debate. If you allow your opponent to select your ammo for you, well, let's just say you are at a disadvantage.

So-called "Hate Crime" is a classic example. Why does it matter what motivates someone who offers you violence? Is your injury worse? Are the consequences greater? Of course not. If you are dead the killer's motives (while analysis of them may help the police to catch him or her) scarcely matter to your loved ones. They certainly won't care whether the killer's reason was logical or not. If you are injured it doesn't matter to you either. As folk-singer Tom Paxton used to joke about his military training in the use of the bayonet, 

Oh no, here comes someone with a bayonet! What'll I do if he yells at me?!

The purpose of "hate crime" is to promote the political view that the life and safety of protected group x, y or z is more valuable than that of group a. In one of those dog-chasing-its-own tail contradictions that only leftist "intellectuals" can truly enjoy it is (by their own warped logic, which I deny) hate speech against group a — the group it implies is comprised of "haters" unworthy of the law’s fullest protection. 

Let's say my gay pal and I meet some anti-social gentry on our way home from the pub. They call him "queer" and me "fat". Both statements are meant to be hurtful and both are accurate. Then they knife us and we die. Or maybe they call him queer and say nothing to me. Maybe they just kill me because I am a witness. Am I less dead? Is my murder less heinous? Of course not. In the classic Age of Reason formulation all humans are equal before the law. The very idea of "gay rights" is offensive in those terms, because one only needs to be human to have equal rights. No other attribute is required. It's perfectly reasonable, if a society discriminates legally against a type to eliminate that error. As chairman of my University's Conservative Association in the 1970s I led my colleagues to take part in a "gay rights" march calling for the remaining crimes pertaining to homosexuality to be repealed in Scotland and Northern Ireland. We were protesting, very rationally, a shortfall in legal rights for homosexuals.  But it's the very same error we opposed to go on from that to demand gays acquire greater rights.

The law in Western social democracies now differs from that rational, even commonsensical, view. My gay chum's murder is a hate crime and more serious than mine. If he were black, brown or yellow, the same. And what if they are themselves gay or black and kill him for fraternising with me? Is it hate crime then? Oddly, no. That, in modern left-wing thinking, is just karma.

Hate crime is a legal concept born of the Marxist social “sciences” (sneer quotation marks entirely deliberate). Like all the social “sciences” it is designed to create contradictions in society that can only be resolved by deploying state violence to raise funds with which to employ social “scientists” in unproductive jobs with fat pensions. This rot should have been stopped decades ago. No lives have been saved by it. Some may have been lost. Certainly the affection for groups thus "protected" has not increased. The people who promoted the concept however have achieved their sinister goals. They have dubious statistical evidence that hatred is (a) endemic in the majority population and (b) rising as they constantly tweak the definition to that end.

In reality, the purpose of the “hate crime” concept is to generate hate. Committing such a "crime" is pointless to an actual bigot. If you are a bigot with power, you will silently exercise it in line with your bigotry. If you are a bigot without power, you don't matter. Such actions benefit instead the class of "victims", whose elevated legal status it justifies and the class of government-employed busybodies and academic social "scientists", whose parasitical existence it supports. Which accounts for the phenomenon of "fake hate crime".

I strongly suspect on the basis of Cui bono? that much "hate crime" is of this type. The Left has a supply-and-demand problem with bigotry: there isn’t enough to go around to support their world view  – and the "equalities" industry on which so many of them fruitlessly live. Given that they claim that US college campuses are more rife with rapes than war zones, they make those up too. "The Patriarchy" is the most widespread conspiracy theory in the world and as laughable as Icke's lizards. As a former partner in a City of London law firm I think, if it existed, I would have been invited to the meetings.

As socialism itself is hate-driven ideology (the National variety based on race hate and the International variety on class hate) perhaps it's not surprising that the Left promotes the concept so ferociously. As I noticed in decades of practice as a commercial lawyer, the wrongs people most fear are the ones they are themselves most likely to visit on others. The violent conduct of the "Love Trumps Hate" protestors across the United States at the moment suggests that it's still best to characterise people by their actions, not their words. If the current insurrection against political correctness in the West achieves nothing else, let's hope it makes the law once more reflect that simple truth.


A language of lies

In my last post I made a rash promise to address the abuse of language by the Left; the way in which they weaponise it to undermine opposition to their ideas. Most friends of Liberty are naggingly aware that it's going on and routinely irritated by it but when I started to research it, I realised it was a big, difficult subject to sum up in a blog post. If there were enough liberty-minded academics to fill a faculty, it could be that faculty's sole field of research. 

Orwell exposed it beautifully in his book 1984 where the English Socialist Party (IngSoc) was introducing a new form of the English language; "Newspeak". He explained that: 
...the purpose ... was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of IngSoc, but to make all other modes of thought impossible. Its vocabulary was so constructed as to give exact and often very subtle expression to every meaning that a Party member could properly wish to express, while excluding all other meaning and also the possibility of arriving at them by indirect methods. This was done partly by the invention of new words, but chiefly by eliminating undesirable words and stripping such words as remained of unorthodox meanings, and so far as possible of all secondary meaning whatever...
For example an IngSoc member could use the word "free" to speak of a garden free of weeds, but not to speak of free expression. That outdated, bourgeois concept would constitute crimethink and therefore did not need a word. 
 
Isn't this is precisely what the post Soviet cultural Marxist Left is now doing world wide? In Newspeak it's now called "political correctness". Why is that term Newspeak? Because to oppose it is to identify yourself as "incorrect". Your wrongness is built into the term itself.
 
Orwell's fictional language was being introduced by law but the Left realised that there was no need for that. The English language itself was formed, not by Parliament, but by men of letters and everyday folk in daily use. If a word or expression was useful, it caught on. So cultural Marxist academics just used their positions to introduce "useful" concepts (to them at least) into the language. Their eager students, innocent or otherwise, then took them into the wider world and most dangerously into the field of public policy. Political correctness is a pollution entering the stream of English thought from the Academy.
 
Orwell's Newspeak included simple things like the sinister interior ministry being named the Ministry of Love or MiniLuv, just as in real life Britain the Ministry of War became the Ministry of Defence. That's not a specifically leftist trick. Wasn't George W. Bush using the same technique when introducing one of the greatest modern assaults on Liberty; the USA Patriot Act? It's a useful tool of persuasion. We don't call a law "the imprisonment without trial act" because who would vote for that? We call it the "Prevention of Terrorism Act" even though it most likely won't do the latter, but will definitely do the former. 
 
The Soviet era Left sneered at "bourgeois" freedoms by questioning the value of freedom or a vote  to a hungry man. The post-Soviet Left has gone further. It has usurped the term "human rights" to frightening effect; proposing "rights" than can only be delivered by the use of force on others to fund them. There can only be a "right" to work, to education or to housing if there is a force powerful enough to compel others to provide them. The true test of a human right is whether a man or woman can enjoy it without compelling another – not merely to abstain from interfering with it – but to pay for it. Regular readers know my view that anything funded by force will tend to corruption.
 
Newspeak is alive and well in the text of a letter written by fifty academics opposing the right of Milo Yiannopolous to give a talk at his old school in Kent; a talk that was cancelled under pressure from the Ministry of Education. How much more elegant to censor by pressuring a humble headmaster than by invoking the majesty of the law. Matthew Baxter, the head of Milo's old school, said:
This decision was taken following contact from the Department For Education’s counter extremism unit, the threat of demonstrations at the school by organised groups and members of the public and our overall concerns for the security of the school site and the safety of our community.
 
We note that within 24 hours of advertising the event, more than 220 Langton sixth formers had, with parental consent, signed up for the event and that objection to our hosting Mr Yiannopoulus came almost entirely from people with no direct connection to the Langton.
What a wonderful confluence of career-threatening bureaucratic pressure, agitation, threats of criminal damage and academic pomposity. Who needs a law when a clear-thinking, respectable head-teacher can be so easily cowed? Just as, long ago, a thoughtful head teacher in Manchester was first demonised and then "persuaded to take early retirement" after he made politically-incorrect (but highly prescient) observations in a conservative publication. 
 
Which brings us to the most freedom-chilling concept of political correctness; hate speech. We are free to say what we want now, as long as it does not incite hatred (as defined by the Left) against protected groups (as defined by the Left). And any crime we commit motivated by ideas that would be hate speech if expressed is a "hate crime" to be more severely punished. Fictional policeman Gene Hunt ridiculed the suggestion that a murder might be a "hate crime" by asking
What as opposed to one of those I-really-really-like-you sort of murders?
The nonsensical thinking is as easily exposed by the hateful remarks of its proponents. It's wicked to worry so much about illegal immigrants that you vote for Donald Trump, for example, but it's fine to suggest that
"... if you're voting for Trump, it's time for the urn"
Hating on haters is ok, you see. I agree. I just don't accept the Left's right to define "hate" and "hater" or to protect particular groups or ideas from being hated. Neither, dear reader, if you value your liberty, must you.
 
I was let off the hook I made for myself in my last post by this wonderfully detailed article from the C2C Journal in Canada concerning the cause celebre (or at least it should be celebre) of a a contemporary hero of the cause of Liberty; Canadian academic, Dr Jordan Peterson. He is currently in what is almost certainly his last month of employment at the University of Toronto because he has publicly stated that he will not use "non-binary pronouns" such as "zhe" if requested to do so. That is in breach of a proposed new law and his university's HR policy and his employer is steadily delivering the HR warnings in preparation for his dismissal. 

 
Dear, lovable Canada, the country that no-one can be bothered to hate, has actually been breaking ground for a while on suppressing free speech. It has form on using the law to do so. Ezra Levant's epic battle with the Newspeak-named Ontario Human Rights Commission is an old story now. His astute insistence that his hearings with the grey bureaucratic minion claiming the power to censor him be videoed exposed her idiocy to the disinfectant of sunlight. That led to the specific law he fell foul of being repealed. Now the Canadian Thought Crime legislators are at it again with their obnoxious Bill C16.
 
in the above-referenced interview with Dr Jordan he says; 
Bill C-16 writes social constructionism into the fabric of the law. Social constructionism is the doctrine that all human roles are socially constructed. They’re detached from the underlying biology and from the underlying objective world. So Bill C-16 contains an assault on biology and an implicit assault on the idea of objective reality. It’s also blatant in the Ontario Human Rights Commission policies and the Ontario Human Rights Act. It says identity is nothing but subjective. So a person can be male one day and female the next, or male one hour and female the next.
I will defend to the death the rights of Leftist academics and other rascals or morons to promote such a stupid idea as social constructionism. Quite frankly, I am amused by it. To quote my only Labour Party hero, George Orwell, once more;
Some ideas are so stupid than only intellectuals believe them
Which is precisely why Michael Gove could safely observe that the people are tired of "experts". Dr Jordan goes on to say;

So with the hate speech issue – say someone’s a Holocaust denier, because that’s the standard routine – we want those people out there in the public so you can tell them why they’re historically ignorant, and why their views are unfounded and dangerous. If you drive them underground, it’s not like they stop talking to each other, they just don’t talk to anyone who disagrees with them. That’s a really bad idea and that’s what’s happening in the United States right now. Half of the country doesn’t talk to the other half. Do you know what you call people you don’t talk to? Enemies. If you stop talking to people, you either submit to them, or you go to war with them. Those are your options and those aren’t good options. It’s better to have a talk.

If you read the rest of the interview with Dr Jordan, you will know everything I would have wished to say on the subject of the left's abuse of language. He says that "we are teaching university students lies" but he understates the point. We are teaching them in lies. The social sciences faculties of the West's universities are the Spanish Inquisition of the post-Soviet Left. They are quite simply, hostile to the truth. They are the most dangerous enemies of freedom. The most saddening fact in my life is that so much of it was spent earning money to be taken from me by state violence to fund that enmity.
 

Winning the War on Error

For the first time in decades I am optimistic we can win the battle of ideas against statists in general (difficult) and Leftists in particular (beginning to look easy). It will involve a journey that Jeremy Corbyn will never make; from the cosy mutual warmth of opposition, where all policies are theoretical and all consequences are optimistically imaginary, to the harsher land of reality.

We must avoid Corbyn's main error and engage with both doubters and opponents. We are true democrats; enemies of violence and no revolutionaries. We accept we must win votes from people of all walks of life. Our younger folk must be careful what they say and write in actual and virtual public, for it will be used against them if they ever run for office.

When we have no TruLib™ candidates in an election we must needs compromise by engaging and working with anyone whose policies are less hostile to our principles. They may be Hannanite Conservatives, Lbertarian-wing Kippers, Gladstonian LibDems or even John Mortimer or Frank Field-type Labourites. Most of my Labour-voting family and friends up North hate being bossed around by snooty people with meaningless degrees as much as we could wish – and are more likely to do  something about it!

Voters for both Brexit and Trump transcended traditional divides of class, ethnicity and even sexual identity. If there is a single issue that unifies them, it is not ideological (though some ideologues will struggle with it more than us). It is really a matter of respect. They want their political "leaders" to stop condescending to them and taking them for granted. This is democracy. They are the demos. They want their supremacy acknowledged and their political servants to stop being uppity, distant and divorced from their everyday reality.

If your child's education is poor. If it takes you and your life partner's full-time effort to meet everyday expenses, you want your MP and your PM to be focussed on that, not on the "rights" of mongers of imaginary grievance. If you see a spoiled brat in college weeping, or a pop star bleating that all women are "in fear", because of the outcome of a free election, you expect your representatives to ignore them, or even laugh along with you, not take their fantasies seriously.

If I am right, this is therefore a dangerous historical tipping point. It's perfectly possible that the Left will be the first to figure this out. Watching them froth and rage at "ignorant, bigoted" proles like Empire Loyalist colonels of the 1950s I grant you it seems bloody unlikely at present, but it's a risk.

If we are to engage with the ordinary voters who have better things to do or needs too urgent to address than to have time to obsess about politics, we must speak to their concerns in their language. They have seen through the warped words of the Left at last and this gives us an advantage to be seized and exploited – or lost.

Reading like-minded blogs, I think we have learned at least one thing in the long dismal night of the Left. We understand better than most how they warp language itself to serve their ends. I will address that in my next posts.


Hating the haters

In the wake of Brexit and Trump, I am becoming a little tired of all the accusations of hatred and division being thrown at those who voted the "wrong way". Leftists are utter hypocrites when they use these words of their opponents.

Their ideology deliberately sets people against each other by class, ethnic group, gender and sexual identity. Markets don't give a stuff about any of that and nor do employers. They only care if a given individual, regardless of skin tone and reproductive apparatus, has some economic value to add and is prepared to show up to do it.

Show me a shrieking hater divisively accusing others and I will show you a leftist. When they scream that anyone who opposes them is a hater, they are projecting. When they complain about division, they unintentionally reveal that the only way to have unity in their terms is to agree with every word they say. That same totalitarian tendency leads their intellectuals to "no platform" their opponents.

They're obsessed with hatred and division precisely because theirs is a hateful doctrine predicated upon social division. Without setting one group in society against another, they can never win or keep power. Which is why when they're in power the hatred and division never goes away.

It is time to call them out on their dishonesty. They are not the principled, ethical people they virtue signal themselves to be. That are not kindly or idealistic. They foment envy, hatred and division selfishly to give themselves the chance to live without producing.

Politics is show business for ugly people. Leftism is economics for parasites.


The Infants Still Crying Wolf

You Are Still Crying Wolf | Slate Star Codex

I have said my piece on Trump for now but the worldwide wets of the special snowflake meltdown just can't give it a rest. Scott Alexander over at Slate Star Codex is trying to administer some soothing facts to them. Good luck with that. Here's how he addresses their anguished cry of "racist!!!" for example. 

Trump made gains among blacks. He made big among Latinos. He made gains among Asians. The only major racial group where he didn’t get a gain of greater than 5% was white people. I want to repeat that: the group where Trump’s message resonated least over what we would predict from a generic Republican was the white population.

Nor was there some surge in white turnout. I don’t think we have official numbers yet, but by eyeballing what data we have it looks very much like whites turned out in equal or lesser numbers this year than in 2012, 2008, and so on.

And here's the voting data. Not that facts ever got in the way of their identity politics hatred and division campaigns before, right?

IMG_0705

If they weren't making people hate each other by falsely accusing people of hating each other it would be funny. God knows it's all I can do to keep from hating them.


Let's get to work saving the West

 

This video of a discussion between two American professors is educational not only on the important question of feminism, but also on the general decline of intellectual discourse in the West. They explain why American universities have become, as Dinesh d'Souza put it; 
islands of repression in a sea of freedom

Much of what they say is relevant to the current storm on social media in the wake of Brexit. I suggest it may partly account for the division between "educated" and "uneducated" in the referendum vote. I would love to see a breakdown of the Remain vote (but no academic will research it and no productive person would waste the time or money) between what Americans call "liberal arts" graduates and those from harder disciplines such as STEM, law and accountancy. Most of our "education", particularly since Blair forced up the numbers attending "uni" (as those on whom it was wasted always call it)  is actively damaging to its victims' intelligence. They come out stupider than they went in.

It's well worth listening to Paglia's explanation of the shallowness of current teaching; of how everything is explained in the context of very recent history. Students in the last twenty years have had little or no exposure to the full story of humanity's development and in particular to the history of ideas. Most great minds in history (particularly of course the odious "DWEMs" or "Dead White European Males") would be denied a platform in a modern "seat of learning". Paradoxically they see the West; imperfect but still undoubtedly the most advanced, liberal and tolerant group of human civilisations and the only place where their childishness would be tolerated – as the heart of all darkness.
"In comparison", as Hoff Sommers puts it, "to what?!"
Paglia is also fascinating on how the new wave of "intersectional" feminism is almost Victorian in its prudish denial of the darker side of human nature. Whereas her generation grew up in the context of World War II, the Holocaust, Soviet tyranny etc. the "snowflake generation" has convinced itself that modern university campuses – factually among the safest places on Earth – are as dangerous as war zones. Yes, ladies and gentleman, it's hilariously stupid. But it won't be so funny when they show up in your offices, shops and factories and accuse you of running a "rape culture" because young male employees try to ask their female counterparts out.
 
Faculty across the West has served up what Hoff Summers calls "warmed over Marxism" to convince our young people, for example, that what they call gender and I call sex is a "social construct". That we are all born bisexual and guided by a malformed society into one sexual orientation or the other. That – and here's the rub – if the programming can be changed so can mankind. That the whole world can be turned – all gods forbid – into a "safe space."
 
They joke at one point in the conversation that a famous third wave feminist should sue Yale for mal-education but I think they have a serious point. The greatest expense of my life was to pay for the Misses Paine to be taught by "warmed over Marxists" that everything I hold most dear is vile. I have faith in their abilities to see through it. They read widely, thank God. I believe in the power of their first-rate minds but what of their weaker brothers and sisters? Many will simply keep regurgitating warmed over Marxism as they lack the critical faculties ever to question what they were taught. Modern education is not designed to develop those faculties. Quite the contrary.
 
We over-forties are discovering this week what it's like to be set upon by the snowflake generation's famous "cry bullies". We were educated more robustly to begin with and have years of life experience. We know what a real problem feels like and therefore find it rather amusing. But we need to pay attention. The way some young people are speaking of their elders – particularly those of us who are WEMs without the decency to add the D – tells you a lot about what their warmed-over Marxist teachers have been telling them behind closed doors. They really do see themselves as new humans, on a higher plane to us. Their contempt for the lumpen-proletariat of course, is old cold Marxism. The people in the deprived regions of Britain where I grew up are well aware of that and voted accordingly.
 
Britain's move toward political independence (economic independence being, of course, a myth unless you have the North Korean model in mind) is an opportunity to build a better country. But it doesn't guarantee it. This video demonstrates that our North American brethren have many of the same problems without the malign influence of the Énarque elitists of Europe and their funding of the West's educationalist enemies.
 
Rather than simply rejoicing in the lamentations of our enemies (hard to resist right now) we need to move with intent towards their shrillest wailing. Not to laugh in their faces but listen, mark and use the data. We should trace the thinking of these intellectually spoiled children back to its hostile source in our universities. We must ensure that the enemies of the West are no longer allowed to go unchallenged there. For so long as there are publicly-funded institutions of learning, they must provide a balanced education. All points of view must be represented, but no ideology must be allowed to do agitprop on the taxpayers' dime.
 
Hoff Sommers refers to the "key commandment" of education she has followed in teaching philosophy;
Thou shalt teach both sides of the argument
That commandment should be a condition precedent to any public funding in education. The British state should no longer fund courses in what Paglia calls "micro-fields" – gender studies and the like. She calls for a reduction by 60% in such courses and a return to the core curriculum. I don't see a need to specify a percentage. People can study what they like in a free society, but at their own family's expense or with funding from philanthropists.
 
The referendum result shows the peoples contempt for these warmed-over Marxist elites. Freedom's enemies are self-identifying themselves everywhere by their furious reaction to our impertinence. Take their names.

An assault on the English Language

Velvet Glove, Iron Fist: Moving the goalposts on malnutrition.

If you don't disapprove of something that annoys them, the new puritans of the Left will redefine it. Their objective seems to be to warp the language until it's scarcely possible to discuss anything except upon their terms. Redefining "poverty" in relative terms, for example, has meant that nothing but communism could ever eliminate it. We couldn't be sold communism. We didn't think income equality very just. But we can hardly approve of poverty and now every policy proposed that doesn't tend to the misery of communism promotes it! 

We were not overly keen upon mass immigration and wondered with the irritating practicality of people who have to work for a living and manage limited budgets about its impact on overloaded public services and infrastructure. But immigrants tended to be from other cultures and of varying skin tones and so an interest in the topic was redefined as racism and effectively made taboo. 

As Chris Snowden explains in the linked article the SJWs of public health are now seeking to redefine malnutrition in such an absurd way that the over fed of the First World will now be no less malnourished than the hungry of the Third World. It sounds ridiculous now of course but discourse in the economic fairyland of the public sector where money grows on other peoples trees doesn't need to be logical. Once the term has been defined to their satisfaction, those of us distracted by the ever increasing need to work to fund their parasitical lives will hear nothing but that malnutrition is rising and needs more taxes to be fixed. 

They are a cancer. The metaphor is particularly apt in that here is no safe amount of cancer to be left in a system if it is to be healthy and survive.


Of circular firing squads

The Left Chose Islam Over Gays. Now 100 People Are Dead Or Maimed In Orlando - Breitbart.

The undeniable failure of the USSR, the introduction of free markets in the PRC and their "betrayal" by the workers who flocked to Thatcher for cheap houses and BT shares in the UK put the authoritarians of the Left in a tough position in the closing years of the 20th Century.
 
They could of course have abandoned their Leftism and accepted that free markets work. This would involve them acknowledging the death, oppression and poverty they had inflicted during that century's long experiment during which more than half of mankind lived at some point under their rule. Worse, it would involve them getting proper jobs and accepting the verdict of the market on their economic value. This was not appealing to people whose ideology had in truth arisen from varying combinations of laziness, stupidity and envy.
 
It was slightly more attractive for them to stick to their ideological guns. One Russian communist told me, when guiding me around the Kremlin when I lived in Moscow, that the Left had to accept that history had not been allowed to run the inevitable course predicted by Karl Marx. As she said 
Russia and China were still feudal societies and their revolutions came too soon. We will now have to wait for them to go through their capitalist and monopoly capitalist stages before we can have a socialist revolution followed by true communism. Next time, we will get it right.

This is admirably consistent, but still involves all living socialists going back to proper jobs for the foreseeable future. It's no more attractive for them than the first option, except that they can dream of a "better future" for their grandchildren as they work as Moscow tourist guides or whatever.

So they went with their third choice instead. They abandoned (at least for now) the idea of "class war"; though they do still like a nostalgic rant when confronted with non-socialist Etonians. Instead they focussed on generating social conflict by identifying "oppressed groups" and setting them against their "oppressors". Wimmin vs The Patriarchy. Black and Minority ethnics vs Racists. Muslims vs Islamophobes. LGBT people vs Homophobes and cis supremacists. Greens vs anyone who doesn't want to live in the Stone Age. Even, despite the historical internationalism of the Left (and the unfortunate outcomes of National Socialism when it was tried in Germany) Scots and Welsh Nationalists – all leftists – against the English. 
 
Identity politics had arrived and a game of victimhood poker began. Soon it became apparent that there were some real contradictions among the artificial ones they were fomenting to justify a powerful State – headed by them – to do "social justice". The Left in Britain had long depended upon the Scots to prop up their minority position in England, for example, and yet lost control of their votes by pandering to their nationalism. Being Scottish (and Socialist) trumped just being Socialist. Feminists like Germaine Greer took understandable exception to arrivistes in the trans community who tried to join her victim group rather than running their own. Most insanely of all, as Milo Yiannopolous points out in the linked article;

Liberals: the problem with putting Muslims at the top of your victimhood hierarchy is that THEY WANT TO KILL EVERYONE ELSE ON THE LIST

Nothing could be more ridiculous than a leftist campaign group called "LGBT against Islamophobia". And yet the group was formed. If we capitalists wanted to (and why should we play their stupid game?) it would be hard to be vile enough to persuade forces so divided to unite in the face of our "threat"!

The old Left, with which I grew up in the one-party North and at my redbrick university, was famous for its splittism, as beautifully satirised in Monty Python's "Life of Brian". The People's Front of Judea was far more likely to fight the Judean People's Front than any actual Romans. The Left hated each other so intensely that they sometimes forgot to hate the wealth generators upon whom they all plotted to live as parasites. This characteristic seems to have re-emerged in cultural Marxism as the victim groups proliferated.

The Orlando killer drew a terrible hand in victimhood poker. It seems he was a homosexual raised in a Muslim family. They would have thought him fit only for death had they known. Had he killed himself in his sexual and religious torment, I would have felt very sorry for him. Had he become a happy gay atheist, Christian or Hindu, I would have smiled for him. But he chose to redeem himself by killing others and must now go down in history as one of the worst of us. Not to be vindictive, at this moment I rather wish there was an Allah or Jehovah to give him the justice he escaped. Now that we know he was a regular patron of the gay club where he went amok and a user of Grindr and similar apps, it seems even more disgusting that Snowflake Owen Jones is still more concerned with ranking the relevant victim categories correctly than with the actual horror of innocent lives lost.

I was serious in what I wrote yesterday. It's really not enough to say "Aha! I told you so!" when discussing this awful story. The Left must address Milo's point. The NRA, as the representatives of responsible gun owners, must come forward with licensing schemes that ensure crazies can't get or keep guns or ammunition. The US Government must actually enforce the licensing regime they have. It seems bizarre that the Orlando killer could have been twice investigated by the FBI and yet retain his "G Licence" as an approved security worker, contracted to the government. G4S, the British multinational that employed him (as it once employed the late Mrs Paine's father - a former military and civilian policeman) must review its HR procedures for armed employees.

There are lots of practical lessons to be learned that can save lives in future. They will involve listening to each other calmly as adults, rather than just yelling the usual abuse. In the case of the Left's factions, they will involve listening to each other and realising just how crazy they all sound.


Don't blame the millennials, blame their teachers

Trigger warning: This post is full of generational generalisations. 

I don't share the general pessimism of my age group about the millennial generation. The Misses Paine are millenials. They are serious intellectuals, hard-working women who want to make a contribution to the world they live in and generally fine human beings. So are all their friends that I have had the pleasure to meet. I would go so far as to say that the millennials I know (admittedly a sample limited by my daughters' excellent taste and my former profession) are more sober, hard-working and serious than I was at their age.

In the wake of 2008, many millennials are having a much tougher time than the late Mrs Paine and I did at the beginning of our working lives. We walked, debt-free, out of university straight into employment. We earned enough to leave our parents' homes and pay our frugal way. We were able to marry at 23, rent a crappy flat for a couple of years and buy our first modest home. Neither of us were unemployed until we chose to be. We worked hard, took things seriously and struggled at times, but our lives look golden in retrospect compared to the struggles of the average millennial.

Nor do I join the Daily Mail and today The Times on reviewing this report (actually about post-millennials currently at university but I suspect reflecting similar beliefs), in fearing for them ideologically. They are not a political bloc any more than our generation was. They are socially liberal but they are also sceptical of politicians' promises to fix their economic problems. Some go so far as to criticise previous generations for having voted themselves unfunded benefits, incurring massive government debts now dumped on them. They are right. They have been screwed.

To the extent that they have scarily illiberal ideas, I think the interesting question is why? Based on my daughters' experiences at British universities, I blame lecturers of my generation. We may have won the debate in 1970s student politics about "No platform for fascists and racists" on a pure free speech argument. But then most of us on the winning side went into productive work and many of the "no platform" losers went into academia. They have indoctrinated subsequent students to the point where only 27% of them (and only 22% of women) believe that "Universities should never limit free speech".

Screenshot 2016-05-23 09.38.01

Some of this is simple confusion about the difference between good laws and good manners. Laws should only prohibit real harms, which do not include hurt feelings. I might ban from my circle of friends someone who went off on a racist or anti-Semitic rant, but I would not call the police. Universities can make their own rules, just like me at my dinner table. But the consequences are very different because they are rather more important fora for intellectual debate.

If students are not prepared to confront the ideas they dislike in the comfort and relative safety of a university lecture hall, how are they going to deal with them in the real world? And what, whisper it softly, if some of the ideas they hate turn out to be right?

Leftists have divided society into a hierarchy of victim groups entitled to dismiss the views of their supposed oppressors. But in the tradition mocked in "Life of Brian" when the Judean Peoples Front fought the Peoples Front of Judea, they have also allowed their zealotry to divide them in frankly hilarious ways.

Feminists like Germaine Greer are now banned from campuses because of remarks like her infamous "transphobic" observation that;

Just because you lop off your penis and then wear a dress doesn't make you a ******* woman. I’ve asked my doctor to give me long ears and liver spots and I’m going to wear a brown coat but that won’t turn me into a ******* cocker spaniel.

An interesting phenomenon in this context is the emergence of the "licensed dissident." The only people who can easily challenge illiberal views are those from the Left's pantheon of the oppressed who as Milo Yiannopoulos puts it, "go off the ideological reservation". Hence the importance of his "Dangerous Faggot Tour" of American campuses in which he systematically "triggers" the "spoilt brat rich kid social justice warriors" and exposes their idiocy by posting videos of their screaming on YouTube.

 

My favourite of his videos is this one of a panel at UMass with Steven Crowder and Christina Hoff Sommers. I particularly enjoyed her summary of "gender studies"

It's ideology pretending to be scholarship. It's propaganda pretending to be fact.

Milo is even more amusingly forthright on that topic and more seriously says in the course of the discussion;

The violence is coming not from the right but from the left and it is informed and justified in the minds of activists by this zealotry.

Yes, I see millennials behaving as absurdly as my leftist contemporaries but I also see them arguing against such absurdities with great verve and skill. I also hope that soon the effects of 2008 will be behind them so they can start to earn properly and pay more taxes. Nothing produces economic liberals faster than excessive tax. So, once again, and perhaps to my own surprise I am on the side of optimism.


Harriet Harman is being treated unfairly

Cranmer on Labour's paedophile problem

I agree with Harriet Harman that she is being smeared, but I struggle to feel as sorry for her as I should. She who lives by the sword shall, with a bit of luck approximating to karmic justice, perish by it. It is simply delicious that a women who has worked so tirelessly to undermine liberty and the rule of law is now in need of both. She doesn't seem as keen on 'the court of public opinion' now that she faces 'trial' herself.

Harman was one of the puritanical Left's Witchfinders in the scandal surrounding the allegations of under-age sex (but not paedophilia in his case) involving Jimmy Savile and other 1970s celebrities. Yet as in-house lawyer at that time to the National Council of Civil Liberties (now Liberty) she saw no need to advise her client that it was a problem to have the Paedophile Information Exchange as an affiliate. Indeed she seems to have worked on some of the outrageous papers supporting some of PIE's positions that NCCL published at the time. One might wonder how a newly-qualified solicitor found herself in such a role, but that's another issue. NCCL was pretty much a captive of the Labour Party and young Harman was already firmly on the left, where ideology always takes priority over talent or expertise.

Mysteriously she won't accept that her failure to give such advice was a mistake. I didn't qualify until 1982, so she is senior to me in our profession but I would certainly have acted differently in her place. Nor do I know any colleagues of that vintage who would not. I don't think the sexual mores of Britain changed very much between the mid 1970s and the early 1980s, but that's irrelevant according to Ms Harman. She has loudly insisted - when it suited her political position - that they haven't changed in forty years. 

That's hypocritical nonsense of course. We are talking of the era of The Little Red Schoolbook; an era of profound sexual upheaval. I still have my copy somewhere; a relic of my time as a teenage leftist in Harman's era at NCCL.

Not even the Daily Mail mentions now that PIE originated as a special interest group of Outright Scotland or that it merged with Paedophile Action for Liberation (itself an NCCL affiliate before the merger) - an offshoot of the South London branch of the Gay Liberation Front. It's not too surprising (if you are not an hypocrite who refuses to acknowledge that times change) that paedophiles, gay and straight, should have latched onto the gay movement's campaign to normalise what were then 'alternative' sexualities. Nor should a non-hypocrite seek to smear the gay movement for its failure - in those heady, underfunded, radical days, to differentiate as precisely between 'correct' and 'incorrect' attitudes as it now expects of others. It had not yet won the victory that now allows it to demonise those who fail to keep up with its ever-changing thought-crimes.

It really was a different world, in short, and the currently rather prudish Left have been foolish to intensify their attacks on the Catholic Church and Savile's showbiz circles by saying that it wasn't. As His Grace points out in the linked post;

The thing is, Pope Benedict XVI spent much of his pontificate issuing profuse expressions of remorse and repentance on behalf of his church for the heinous acts of paedophile priests and the post-conciliar hierarchical conspiracy of cover-up. And the BBC is still apologising over its 1970s "groupie" culture of misogynistic permissiveness and predatory paedophilia. Both institutions are horrified and appalled - 40 years on - that they did nothing to protect so many vulnerable victims over such a long period. But at least the perpetrators are now being held to account - one of them even post mortem.

These institutional apologies have not protected either, of course, from the relentless smears of the Left. Yet, for all their failings, neither the Catholic Church nor the BBC ever sought to justify the misconduct or, still less as the NCCL did, to argue that it should be normalised. 

Conservative commentators are reacting to this story in a generally gentle and seemly way. Iain Dale is taking the Milliband line. The Spectator is magnanimously pointing out that 

There is no continuity of between the positions Harriet Harman and Patricia Hewitt adopted in the 1980s and their thought today. In office, Harman led a group of Labour women politicians who worked to make the law friendlier towards rape victims. Hewitt, Harman and Harman’s husband Jack Dromey (who was at the NCCL at the time) have not campaigned to reduce the age of consent to 14 or 12, or to abolish it.

I am glad that the non-Left is being reasonable and refusing to make the kind of vicious demands for intemperate action that characterise 'righteous' leftists when they taste the blood of political opponents. It does them great credit and I hope voters notice. That said, the Daily Mail has really done no more than pick up Harman's and Dromey's own discarded grenades of hypocrisy and political dishonesty and lob them back into their trench.