Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Because they're all terrorists

British schools will be allowed to ban Muslim veils for "security reasons".

If the British government is trying to tell its Muslim citizens that it thinks they are all terrorists, then I couldn't think of a better way of doing it. Way to win the war of ideas, guys.


All very true I/S. *But*, while I recall a lot of criticism from you of Bush and Blair et al, I don't recall much at all criticising the rape, murder, oppression, hate speech and human rights violations of their opponents.

Wot about a bit of balance then?

Is this society you can express rebellion and alienation through your blog. In certain other societies, you might express it by blowing up children. Which do you prefer?

Posted by Anonymous : 3/21/2007 07:37:00 PM

kiwi... what in the hell are you talking about?

i/s routinely rips into places like saudi arabia for it's human rights violations (although i'm lazy, and will need him to find the right links).

plus, you're conflation of "free speech via blogging", and "free speech via killing children" is absurd.

Posted by Anonymous : 3/21/2007 08:15:00 PM

i/s. i'm sceptical that this is an infringement of the muslim minority's rights.

was thinking of blogging this one myself as well.

thing is, it's permissable to ask migrants to conform to *reasonable* majority standards. the question is whether these majority standards are being applied for the benefit of the greater whole (i.e. to assist or 'smoothen' assimilation of minorities), or as a knee-jerk reaction.

i'll try knock something a little better argued out over at object. but maybe at the weekend...

Posted by Anonymous : 3/21/2007 08:20:00 PM

I think you will find that I/S has been pretty even-handed and consistent in his postings on Iraq.

What are you actually saying KD, that its fine by you to discriminate indiscriminately based on religion, and that at the end of the day its okay because 'at least the're not 'blowing up children'?' You might even like to expand considerably on your soundbite about their opponents, like include some facts. Are you referring to the Shia and Shite militias now fighting a civil war in Iraq brought on by US incompetence and military adventurism?, perhaps you're referring to Osama BL and friends, who really knows from your post.

I'd also note that , what was it, oh yeah - 'rape, murder, oppression, hate speech and human rights violations' - aren't these all horrible crimes that we have evidence of having been carried out by the 'US Coalition' forces and administration (Abu Ghraib, Renditions, Marine Incidents in Sadr City etc.).

Remind me again who the hypocrites are who claim to be the leaders of the free world, who respect democracy, human rights etc.... remind me why it isn't really a cynical end game about oil.

Posted by Anonymous : 3/21/2007 08:21:00 PM

Mr/Ms Tibby,

You may want to locate a dictionary and refamiliarise yourself with the meaning of 'routinely'. Because you are indeed lazy I'll look for you on post critical of Saudi Arabia...

December 18. A post criticising Britain for arms sales to Saudi Arabia; no 'ripping in' to Saudi human rights in sight.

Sept 19. A note in passing that women are not allowed the vote in SA.

June 17th. A post dealing with SA's appalling human rights record.

Jan 05: a post attacking America for turning a blind eye to SA repression (A touch of irony here, given the pitiful paucity of posts here on one of the world's most appalling regimes).

I can't be bothered going back any further, but if this concurs with your idea of routine then you do indeed need the useful guidance of the OED. We could of course also wonder about the almost complete silence on Dafur here, and so on.

As I've noted before here, and remain interested in, Idiot's concern with human rights extends roughly as far as HR issues are useful for pushing his own political wheelbarrow. Dafur is of minimal interest because it is the darling UN who is again ignoring genocide; the UN's recent assertion that Israel is the chief global oppressor of women will not be commented on. Guantanamo Bay is crucial, but HR in the rest of Cuba is not. A banning of veils the UK gives a delicious opportunity to fume against the safe left-wing target of Blairite Britain; the fact that in other countries women risk mutilation or death by NOT wearing veils is a non-issue, having scant potential to be used in denouncing the West. One could go on in a long, long list.

Idiot is indeed free to post what he wants on his blog, but he - like you, Mr/Ms Tibby, should be straightforward about this highly selective set of moral priorities. Your intellectually lazy claim in his defence is obviously false; next you'll be telling us that it has NOT been characteristic of the left for decades to base its selective moral outrage on a -usually prurient - set of political prejudices. Idiot is a fascinating heir to this pathology, and is far from alone in the current left-wing eco system. And nor, unfortunately, are you.

Posted by Anonymous : 3/22/2007 01:18:00 AM

123, that's dr. tibby, thank you.

if you're not familar with my blog, then maybe you'll want to find out a little more about the new zealand blogsphere.


Posted by Anonymous : 3/22/2007 06:32:00 AM

'Dr' Tibby: Oh puh-lease. Do really feel the need to brandish your academic credentials with so little encouragement? I think you'll find that a reasonable number of posters on political blogs have doctorates/post-doc positions; and not of the NZ/Aus cereal box variety either (which I strongly suspect is where you did yours). How does your elevated status contribute to the matter at hand, I wonder?

Posted by Anonymous : 3/22/2007 07:04:00 AM

Good heavens, Dr. Tibby. I do 30 secs research and what do I find? You blog/used to blog on Public Address! I've been there a few times back in the day - it was dominated by some Russell Brown who spent his time talking about himself, what new computer he'd bought, what drugs he'd done, who he was hanging out with, etc. Yawn. Apart from a bunch of acolytes making similar posts, that seeed about it.

And you've got a PhD from Melbourne University! So my 'cereal box' NZ/Oz hunch was right (though it's no doubt somewhat better than one from Waikato or Massey..) Good for you. However, be careful you don't quickly run out of people to tell, Dr...

Posted by Anonymous : 3/22/2007 07:22:00 AM


1. my mention of saudi was an off-hand reference in defence of i/s.

2. you'll find that you have provided four references to saudi. two are i/s criticising the country, one sounds like a statement of poor HR, the last is a criticism of the UK (which suggests that the topic was the UK, not saudi arabia).

what you have provided then is 2 1/2 examples of i/s doing exactly what i said he was.

3. you then proceed into a little tirade on what are obviously your favourite hobby-horses, to obfuscate the issue, and claim he's being selective because he's ignoring *your* introduced subjects.

4. then you decide to play the man, not the ball.

5. go to wikipedia and look up che guevara, and you can then figure out my gender.

Posted by Anonymous : 3/22/2007 07:25:00 AM

123, melbourne university was ranked 7th in the world the year i graduated. but thanks for your interest.

Posted by Anonymous : 3/22/2007 07:26:00 AM

123 - i like your MO.

1, jump to a conclusion that may or may not exist.
2, resort to rambling, personal attacks when others try and debate your conclusion.

nice dude, nice

Posted by Anonymous : 3/22/2007 08:58:00 AM

Riiiight. And again, comrade Tibby, I ask you to look up 'routinely', which was of course your claim. And why you feel you should name yourself after a commandant of death camps, I have no idea. each to their own. Here's what they say about Che:

Cuba was a nation of 6.5 million in 1959. Within three months in power, Castro and Che had shamed the Nazi prewar incarceration and murder rate. One defector claims that Che signed 500 death warrants, another says over 600. Cuban journalist Luis Ortega, who knew Che as early as 1954, writes in his book "Yo Soy El Che!" that Guevara sent 1,897 men to the firing squad. In his book "Che Guevara: A Biography," Daniel James writes that Che himself admitted to ordering "several thousand" executions during the first few years of the Castro regime.

Great, eh?

And Fraser, for all your bluster, I see no reference to the point under discussion. I will await your contribution with interest.

As for Melbourne University - perhaps try #78 - which would still seem to me very high, but there you go:

The point to be made in addition to

As for my point about I/S - I still see no defences of such woefully selective and hypocritical moralising. And I would be extremely interested to hear one.

Posted by Anonymous : 3/22/2007 09:24:00 AM


Thanks for the humour!

Melbourne's ranking was in the Times Higher Ed Supplement, which is well regarded. Rankings do change year to year. Rankings are also made across faculties, certain faculties (Social sciences being one) are ranked much higher than the overall university ranking. So 'cereal box' is a hilarious claim.

Anyway, I recall ever running across such a constipatedly frustrated set of comments as yours, ever.. you've made my day

Posted by Anonymous : 3/22/2007 09:32:00 AM

sorry, "don't recall running across..."


Posted by Anonymous : 3/22/2007 09:33:00 AM

my mistake, 7th in the asia-pacific region. though i should state that your condescension towards new zealand is winning you no friends here.

i should also state that 'che' is the name my mother gave me. i have no reason to hide behind pseudonyms.

and finally, note to self, "don't feed the trolls". i'll blame it on the early start.

i/s i'll get that blog on immigrant tolerance (the actual subject of your post) up and running when i can.

Posted by Anonymous : 3/22/2007 09:33:00 AM

woot!! in 2006 the THES has melbourne outranking yale in the arts and humanities faculty!

7th on that ranking, but only 22 in the entire world. ah well. you get what you pay for.

thanks for the reminder tim.

Posted by Anonymous : 3/22/2007 09:41:00 AM

There's not much point in blogging about things everyone already knows about and agrees with. Bush and Blair are still being presented in the mainstream media (and by out Prime Minister) as the "good guys", which needs to be countered; terrorists, on the other hand, are already near-universally agreed to be wrong.

Posted by Commie Mutant Traitor : 3/22/2007 10:47:00 AM

Indeed Dr. Tibby, 7th in APR is different from 7th in world. Very different. And as for being condescending; I don't think so. Being a small town Kiwi lad who grew up working on farms and the like and who also saw the racism and violence and narrowness of NZ provincial life up close, I've earnt the right to speak earnesly about NZ. Like most NZ expats, at least where I am, I retain a love/hate mix for my turangawaewae. NZ is laid back, friendly, and generally happy. It's also intellectually narrow, insular, and smug, with an undercurent of violence and anger mixed in. If saying so upsets people, ahh, well, then they can get violent and angry...

While I'm here: "cereal box", Tim, just so you should know, is a term used here in NY for 3-year Anglo PhDs. A US PhD at a top school takes usually 5-6 years full time, involves intensive coursework, huge general exams, then advanced language exams (2 foreign plus English), just to be accepted as a PhD candidate. Then you do the dissertation. This bears little comparison to the Anglo "We'll lock you in an office for 3 years, at the conclusion of which you can give us your thesis" approach. The term may sound arrogant, but then so does trolling around blogs telling uninterested strangers that you're a doctor.

As for Yale, I find that strange, given that the likes of Harold Bloom and Benjamin Harshav work there, but there you go.

Posted by Anonymous : 3/22/2007 10:53:00 AM

“As for my point about I/S - I still see no defences of such woefully selective and hypocritical moralising. And I would be extremely interested to hear one.”

1. Helen Clark hasn’t frequently expressed admiration for the rulers of Saudi Arabia, and NZ is unlikely to be influenced into following their policies, so simple self-interest is an excellent reason to focus on the UK and US.
2. Why do you bring up Saudi and not Tajikistan et al? Oh that’s right, they’re not on the right wing talking points list de jour. If the left stand reasonably accused of a too utopian principles-based focus, the right’s issue is an utter lack of principle. I personally can’t get too worked up when you trot out Saudi Arabia because it’s clear the right have absolutely no interest in Saudi or any other regime on the planet beyond their ability to serve today’s geostrategic and financial goals and to prop up the sham arguments created to spin them. The complete shamelessness with which the right will shuffle regimes between friends and enemies, with an utter moral selective blindness is just incredible. So I find your attempt to claim an upper moral ground here ludicrous.

“And as for being condescending; I don't think so..etc” I don’t think you’re being condescending, I think you have a history of being simply rude. You excuse your lack of social grace to yourself by pretending it’s all the cut-and-thrust of argument, but actually you either can’t or won’t express yourself without being abusive. I personally wish you’d try harder – I’m happy to trade arguments but the other garbage takes away from the enjoyment of participating on this site.

Posted by Anonymous : 3/22/2007 11:24:00 AM

Terrorists " already near-universally agreed to be wrong", CMT? Really? You don't say? How appalling - that right-wing hate machine called the media is at its old game of artificially manufacturing consensus, duping the people again. The bastards.

Posted by Anonymous : 3/22/2007 11:26:00 AM

*Yawn* - Huskynut. What a surprise. This shouldn't take long.

Saudi Arabia. It was the example used by the esteemed Dr. Tibby. That's why.

As for the 'right', I have no association with it, considering myself left wing, albeit thankfully of a different persuasion to you. The point remains that I/S remains every bit as selective in his moral denunciations as the 'right' you fulminate against.

As for being rude, ah well. So bereft of social graces, so awakward in exulted company. Years of therapy ahead, I fear.

As for 'argument', you could indeed stop playing the "the right-wingers do it so we can too" card. Do you disagree that left wingers like I/S are NOT selective in their outrage against HR abuses?

I wait in polite anticipation, m'lud.

Posted by Anonymous : 3/22/2007 11:38:00 AM

Actually I disagree with Che on the subject of the right of states to force (they aren't asking they're telling) immigrants to "conform to *reasonable* majority standards".

I think the state has the right to impose laws to stop people harming others or society - I don't believe that wearing a religious costume at school does either. I'd note that if you look at a typical Catholic girls school, many of the staff will be wearing religious costume, as nuns tend to - there have been no suggestions that this should change.

I disagree with all organised religions. I think that schools should educate students to think for themselves and question the social and cultural impositions made by the family / community / nation. Forcing kids of one religion (there is no problem with Sikhs wearing turbans) to abandon their religious symbols is not the way to do it.

Posted by Rich : 3/22/2007 12:38:00 PM

rich, it's a tricky one, isn't it? the way i see it, states have the right to require immigrants to conform to majority standards (such as sexual equality), but think that such a requirement has to be tempered with "reasonableness".

so, the argument should be, "is it reasonable to require children of muslim migrants not wear headdress?"

and as you rightly point out, it's not entirely reasonable to require them to abandon the veil. a style of dress does no real harm.

but, part of the social contract immigrants sometimes unwittingly sign is conformity to majority norms. it's a necessary and good thing, because it helps guarantee to the host-public that migrants are trying to "take over". the problem (as i see it), is that "majority norms" sometimes get swept up in trends like anti-islamism.

banning the veil is only an indication, the real problem is the growing public dissatisfaction with muslims in their communities.

the likely solution will be a curb on the immigration of muslims! as illiberal as that is!

Posted by Anonymous : 3/22/2007 12:52:00 PM

123 - refer my earlier point 1 (or are you just ignoring it?)

I/S could spend his life chronicling the morbid and disgusting goings on of the entire planet. And completely waste his life in the process.

Of *course* it's selective.. it's ridiculous to pretend anyone has the bandwidth to not be selective. That doesn't make it hypocritical.

So I/S seems to focus on the portions of the political world that have the most influence on NZ, and that we have most (though minimal) influence in return. It's a freakin NZ political site, what exactly do you expect?!
eg the US introduces Air Marshalls.. now we're being pressured to have the bloody things as well. Last I heard we weren't looking at implementing any policy borrowed from Saudi.

Posted by Anonymous : 3/22/2007 01:04:00 PM

Thing is Che, most UK Muslims were born there - and if you talked to them on the phone, they'd have a pommy accent just like mine (if not sarf London or broad Yorkshire). They weren't even a particularly visible minority - increasingly middle class, English speaking as I say, living where they happened to find a house rather than in "ethnic areas".

Once the government gets on their case though, they get naturally arsey (remember they're culturally British influenced, and you know what us Brits are like when riled). Which leads to a rift developing with the "mainstream" population where previously none existed.

Posted by Rich : 3/22/2007 01:47:00 PM

I'm afraid, Huskynut, that a site which proclaims itself a supporter of HUMAN rights ('human' must be universal if it is to mean anything), and then posts more on Guantanamo bay than on Dafur, Saudi Arabia, China, and iran combined (according to my brief count), should be criticised for the deep hypocrisy of holding that 500 prisoners are deserving of more attention than the hundreds upon hundreds of thousands that suffer in the latter countries. And as Nick Cohen points out, you will find again and again, throughout much of the left, the same attentions, the same overlookings. Iraq but not Sudan. Gitmo but not Sujiatun. Palestine, but not North Korea. In short, in NRT, as in left-think around the world, there are both strategically important human rights abuses and ones that matter little. This has nothing to do with what nation you're from and everything to do with ideology. Why is Gitmo more important than Sujiatun - which is in our back yard, and where unspeakable atrocities occur? I challenge you to explain this bias from your 'influence on NZ' perspective. I/S's concerns are not based upon the scale of abuses or upon any just distribution of concerns for equal human beings suffering in different parts of the world. It is based on politic; a politic of expediency that any decent left-wing should be ashamed of. Such selective attenion may be good for those interned illegally at Guantanamo; it is not for those millions suffering and dying in less convenient areas for a left-wing realpolitik: Sudan, Iran, Eritrea; the list goes on.

One could point out (as I believe I did above), that such realpolitik distinguishes much of the Western left of the 20th cent. The prolonged refusal to criticise Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, etc, and in many cases, the active support of them well past the time their atrocities became known. Idiot does not endorse torturers and murderers; I will say that for him. he is not a Noam Chomsky or a George Galloway. Yet his division of human suffering into sticks to beat the West and sticks to be passed over in relative silence repudiates his claims to be interested in HUMAN rights. If we on the left are not better than this, then we better stop criticizing the right wingers that build their own realpolitik.

Posted by Anonymous : 3/22/2007 02:41:00 PM

rich, great point. how can you justify changing the rules after a couple of generations of settlement, just because being muslim has suddenly become unfashionable?

answer? you can't.

so my question becomes, how many of the muslims being required to remove the veil are 'recent' immigrants?

Posted by Anonymous : 3/22/2007 04:05:00 PM

It's a very difficult issue to contemplate... on the one hand, it's the muslims' lives and minds and who are we to say what they should do with them?

On the other hand, Islam in its current incarnation is illiberal and very determined to not just say how people should live and think but its followers are quite prepared to use force as well.

So, defending Islam and its -ists is akin to defending the goose-stepping crowd and... I can't do it. That freedom thing is worth too much to me.

Posted by Anonymous : 3/22/2007 06:38:00 PM

Well, that's an interesting discussion. Thanks for the support 123, although I don't agree with the cultural cringe bit.

Che, my point was not a conflation of different forms of protest, but an implied comparison of different systems of values and responses to feelings of alientation.

So here is my basic thesis. The values in some societies are superior to those of others (not perfect mind you, just superior). Do you agree? And if so, what should we do about it?

I/S seems to be a fan negative reinforcement to keep the best honest (I think - correct me if I'm wrong I/S). But what about some more positive reinforcement for the best, and some more negative reinforcement for the worst.

Or do you think that modern liberal western societies are no better than anybody else?

Posted by Anonymous : 3/22/2007 07:39:00 PM

................. yawn.

get over it donkey and 123.

I/S is quite correct in showing how bad, cynical etc blair and bush are.

Why dont you guys go and do some blogs on the saudi's and co.

Youll have a great time reading each others posts.

Posted by Anonymous : 3/22/2007 07:56:00 PM

Juha: Islam is not homogenous. Many muslims totally oppose the use of force. The more you oppress people, the more they will fight back and take on extreme positions.

In the 1920's, Germans had legitimate grievances - they were being penalised for the misdeeds of their previous rulers. Reaction to these grievances was a key factor in the rise of Nazism.

Telling people what they can and can't wear; denying them due process; trying to impose colonial rule by force of arms; supporting corrupt dictatorships - these are all *legitimate* grievances of muslims. Not being allowed to stone apostates (etc) does not of course fall into this category.

Equating muslims with Nazis is no more legitimate than equating Germans with Nazis and imposing collective punishment - something which was considered by the Allies in the form of the Morgenthau Plan and fortunately rejected.

Posted by Rich : 3/23/2007 11:44:00 AM

123 - fair enough, looks like we agree to disagree. For me personally, the idea promoted by Steven Covey of having a circle of influence which is rather smaller than your circle of concern, and of personal effectiveness being about focussing within your circle of influence was quite transformative. I am now less the classic hand-wringing wet liberal so (reasonably) despised by the right as always whining and never effective and have more smaller, localised concerns, but with at least some effectiveness.
I think a great deal of the left's relatively inward focus and ignoring of abuses by some regimes is due to exactly this attitude, and not to some lack of moral fibre as you seem to think. The classic "first remove the beam from thine own eye", and desire to avoid hypocritical moralising seems to be the motto. It certainly does lead to continuing abuses on a wide range of fronts, but personally I think the pendulum is currently way too far in the other direction - vast amountsof energy are going into attempting to change societies that the west has made minimal attempt to even comprehend while the basic fabric of our own democracies (such as habeus corpus) is being slowly chewed away piece by piece.

Posted by Anonymous : 3/24/2007 08:38:00 AM


Disagree we do. I might indeed ask you who the 'thine' in the aphorism you quote refers to? Yourself? New Zealand? I utterly fail to see how you might use it to justify a fixation on America over China for example? Is it because Americans are largely white and speak our language? You best be careful; many might regard such selectivity as racist. Can you really give me any reason why Gitmo should be the subject of the left's attention whilst China's prison camps should not? Again, why is Tony Blair 'thine', but not Dafur? Unlike yourself, I see no natural groupings, no 'us' and no 'them', that might explain or excuse such selective morality.

Do you really feel this way? For if you are most afraid of being accused of 'hypocritical moralising', I think you can rest easy. But only because you are well there already in trying to explain such prejudice away as somehow justified.

As for H/C, I see no reason why what's happening n America should result in A NZer like yourself feling queasy about your right to actively condemn HR abuses in countries like China or Saudi. Do you? Then why are you defending such lazy left-wing hypocrisy?

In closing, I salute you in actually posting an argument here. You've done more than most commenters on this board of bemusing knee-jerk prejudice are capable of. On'ya, tree-hugger.

As for you, nznative, don't feel burdened by the obligation to provide reasons in support of your adolescent mutterings. It would obviously demand too much of a frail constitution.

Posted by Anonymous : 3/25/2007 01:12:00 AM


i/s, let me know what you think.

Posted by Anonymous : 3/30/2007 07:13:00 AM