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The deep Crisis of the West
What are they really up to in the Wilders case?
28.06.2011. It is not at all obvious that Dutch authorities have really come to the conclusion that they are in favor of democracy and freedom of speech, after all. Writes Arthur Legger:
The Western race for freedom of expression is, surprisingly, won by the Dutch. Uniquely and after a process that did last for more than four years, of which one and a half years as a trial in an Amsterdam courtroom, Geert Wilders was acquitted and declared ‘not guilty’ on all charges. In our recent European history Wilders is the only Islam and immigration critic accused of hatespeech, discrimination, and racism who walked out of his law suit as a free man. In Denmark, Austria, Norway, Sweden, France, Belgium and the UK all prominent and less prominent whistle blowers of a gaining Islamization of the West have been convicted either before national courts or before the European Court.
The Amsterdam judges did a rush job on Thursday the 22nd of June 2011. In a packed courtroom and live on national TV they presented their verdict as a 20 minutes summary. The written version isn’t much longer, though. Most of the reasoning of the Public Prosecutor (who pleaded in great detail and length in 2008, 2010 and 2011 for a complete acquittal) is ignored. All of Wilders’ lawyer Moszkowicz reasoning is ignored. The complainants cries are brushed off. European Court jurisprudence is only used highly eclectically. And Dutch High Court jurisprudence is either applied superficially or dismissed while being quoted and interpreted plainly wrong.
But the very superficial and flawed verdict shows that the lower Amsterdam judges are really saying: “don’t take us seriously, please, we’re merely the messenger boys –we have to let him go”. The implication of this message is serious and has eluded everybody: Wilders is acquitted by the lowest court. The verdict of such a lower court brings forth some sort of jurisprudence, but not a new ‘dogma’, which is the jurisprudence of the High Court. Hence, Wilders is acquitted in a minor sentence for these charges, said to have been committed between 2005 and 2008, with his movie Fitna as the most profiling aspect. That leaves opportunity for his fanatic opponents to charge him again for ‘hatespeech’ committed after 2008. Which is precisely the strategy employed in the UK to silence critics of Islam: sue people to bankruptcy. It was with reason that the late chief editor Toeger Seidenfaden of the Danish newspaper Politiken went to London in February 2010 to ask for forgiveness for printing Westergaard’s cartoons. People and institutions have been prosecuted to death for less.
The Amsterdam Court and the High Court has learned its lesson –for now. The fanatic muslims are in disarray –for now. Dutch politics is geared towards its new master –for now. The Dutch elite is trying to adapt and survive –for now. But nothing is more fleeting than political prominence and power. The knife is always near, which in Wilders’ case especially is true. So, only time will tell whether Wilders’ unique victory over a European trend towards (self)censorship marks a new beginning of a Western call for freedom of speech, or is a clever manoeuvre to pacify and charm a political opponent and his 2 million Dutch voters.
Still, the day after his triumph and in his first interview in De Volkskrant (the Dutch ‘Politiken’), Wilders was able to present himself as a responsible whistle blower, only applying his aggressive tone of voice when called for, and insisting that the politician’s option to shock, disturb and offend ought never to be illegal -freedom of speech matters most to those expressions that are not mainstream. After writing about Wilders’ court case for over two years, these remarks have become a cliché to me. But I’m very happy that at least in the Netherlands they are a reality again –for now.
Read Legger's entire article at Document.
Are we witnessing a rebirth?
27.06.2011. Excerpts from an article by Roger Scruton in The American Spectator:
The True Finn Party in Finland has broken through the left-liberal consensus to take second place in the polls, reminding voters that Finland is not just a geographical area but a country defined by language, culture, and history, a country that has been defended at great cost against the Soviet desire to absorb it and which is now, thanks to the European Union, being robbed of its savings in order to replenish the pockets of Mediterranean kleptocrats. Finns have revealed that they don't like being manipulated by political elites outside the country. They want to show the world that Finland is not just a quaint survival, defined by a weird language and a romantic folklore, but a real and self-governing nation-state, whose resources belong to its citizens, and whose citizens wish to claim their ancestral territory as their own.
A comparable feeling has made itself manifest in France, with growing support for the Front National of Jean-Marie Le Pen, and for Le Pen's dynamic daughter, who is now likely to lead the party to positions of power and influence across the country (see Joseph A. Harriss, p. 54). The Dutch have rallied to the cause of Geert Wilders, whose outspoken attacks on Islam and calls to restrict immigration have brought a new spirit of national defiance to the politics of the Netherlands. Belgium is unable to form a government, on account of the nationalist aspirations of its Flemish majority, while in Italy the Lega Nord is pressing for a redefinition of the Italian settlement, one that will acknowledge the distinction between the law-abiding north and the Mafia-ridden south of the country.
All across Europe the nations are beginning to boil with frustration, at a political straitjacket that prevents them from asserting their ancient rights. The causes of this are many, but two in particular stand out: immigration and the European Union. The two are connected, since it is the EU's non-negotiable insistence on the free movement of labor that has prevented the nation-states from exerting meaningful control over their borders. At a time when unemployment in Britain stands at more than 2 million, more than a million immigrants from Eastern Europe have come to take what jobs there are. It is impossible that such a situation should endure without strong sentiments of national entitlement among the indigenous people, and our governing elites are struggling hard to prevent those sentiments from emerging into the light of day.
Equally provocative, however, has been the debt crisis within the European Union. At a time when the people of Britain are being told that they must face cuts to public services that will cause widespread hardship, they are also being told that taxpayers must contribute 4 billion pounds -- roughly 200 pounds each -- to pay for the extravagance of Portuguese politicians, who have been lining their pockets and robbing their people in the traditional way, and relying on the euro to protect them. The subtle economic arguments with which this move is justified fail to persuade people that they are not being robbed. And it is one appeal of the nationalist parties elsewhere in Europe that they honestly declare that the people are being robbed, in order to subsidize the lifestyle of elites who have no historical connection with them, and that when people are being robbed they have a right to defend themselves.
JUST WHERE ALL this is going it is hard to know. One thing is certain, however: nationalist sentiments are once more prominent in the cultural landscape of Europe. And they are the more prominent for the attempt by the Eurocrats to forbid them. I doubt that this situation was foreseen by those who first set the European process in motion. It seemed reasonable, even imperative, in 1950 to bring the nations of Europe together, in a way that would prevent the wars that had twice almost destroyed the continent. And because conflicts breed radicalism, the new Europe was conceived as a comprehensive plan -- one that would eliminate the sources of European conflict, and place cooperation rather than rivalry at the heart of the continental order.
WHAT WE ARE NOW seeing in Europe is that yesterday's radical visions cannot translate into today's political needs. The imperial project has entered into conflict with the only source of sentiment upon which it could conceivably draw for its legitimacy. The nation-states are not equally stable, equally democratic, equally free, or equally obedient to the rule of law. But they are all that we have. They alone inspire the loyalty and obedience of the European people, and without them there is no way that the machinery of the Union can act. By replacing national accountability with distant bureaucracy, that machinery has left people disarmed and bewildered in the face of the current crisis. The euro, invented and imposed without any proof that the people of the "eurozone" had any desire for it, was immediately understood, by the kleptocrats of the Mediterranean, as a way of enlarging the national debt, and transferring it to the hard-working Germans. And the people of Greece, Spain, and Portugal agreed, since nobody alerted them to the cost -- the national cost -- that will be paid, once the eurozone breaks up, as surely it must.
Now that the day of reckoning is approaching, people all across the continent sense the need to prepare themselves for hard times. In a crisis people "take stock," which means that they retreat to the primary source of their social identity, and prepare to defend it. They do not do this consciously. But they do it nevertheless, and the futile attempt by the comfortable elites to denounce the "extremism" of the people whose inheritance they have stolen merely exacerbates the reaction. But the situation is not a happy one. Not only are there nations like the Flemish and the English that have no nation-state of their own. The half-century of peace and prosperity has fed upon the European cultural inheritance without renewing it. The constitutional treaties and transnational courts of the Eurocrats have made a point of granting no favors to the Christian faith, and the spirit of multiculturalism has ensured that national cultures receive no subsidies either from national governments or from the European Union. A "cult of the minority" has been imposed from above.
This cult is painfully apparent in England, where I am writing. English schools that refuse to celebrate Christmas will nevertheless insist on a day devoted to Diwali and another to Eid; "diversity" is the theme of our official festivals, and the Arts Council of England even refuses to support the English Music Festival, on account of the offensive word English in its title. At the same time, here as elsewhere in Europe, people no longer accept the cult. All across Europe "multiculturalism" is being rejected, both by ordinary people and by many of their elected representatives. For, while multiculturalism has done nothing to reconcile immigrant communities to their new surroundings, it has destroyed the frail remnants of national cultures that survived the Second World War.
This is one reason why people who stand up for their national identity can so easily be made to look like "extremists." You don't look like an extremist if you express your national sentiment in the idiom of a Péguy, an Orwell, a Lampedusa, or a Sibelius. But when you have no national icons besides the flag and the football team you find it difficult to display the most important aspect of national sentiment, which is that it is an invocation of peace, and not a cry of war. That is why culture matters, and why its loss, in times of crisis, is a loss to the whole community, and not just to the educated minority who are aware of the fact.
Read the entire article in The American Spectator.
Acquitted of defaming Muslims
27.06.2011. Excerpts from an article by Soeren Kern at Hudson New York:
A court in Amsterdam has acquitted Geert Wilders -- the leader of the Dutch Freedom Party who had denounced the threat to Western values posed by unassimilated Muslim immigrants -- of charges of inciting religious hatred against Muslims for comments he made that were critical of Islam.
The landmark verdict, which brings to a close a highly-public, two-year legal odyssey (here, here, here and here), marks a major victory for free speech in a country (and continent) where the politically correct elite routinely seek to silence public discussion about the escalating problem of Muslim immigration.
Wilders, who accused the court of bias against him and said the charges were politically motivated, was acquitted of all five counts of inciting racial and religious hatred against Muslims for remarks in which he equated Islam with fascism, and others in which he called for a ban on the Koran and a tax on Muslim headscarves.
The verdict is also an important first step toward promoting free speech in other parts of Europe. Citizens in many European countries lack an American-like First Amendment, which means they can be punished for expressing the "wrong" opinions. Up until now, European elites have been quick to use hate-crime legislation to silence people with opinions that do not conform to official state policies. The Dutch precedent will almost certainly encourage free speech activists in other parts of the European Union.
Not surprisingly, Muslim groups in the Netherlands are angry about the ruling, saying they will take the battle to another venue. The Moroccan-Dutch organization Samenwerkingsverband van Marokkaanse Nederlanders warns: "We will go to the United Nations Committee for Human Rights in Geneva. The suit will be directed against the government of the Netherlands for not protecting ethnic minorities against racism and discrimination." It is also possible that the plaintiffs will continue their campaign to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
Nor will Wilders' acquittal change the fact that he continues to live under round-the-clock security because of death threats from violent Islamic extremists. For the moment, however, Wilders' victory has undeniably widened the boundaries of free speech in Europe, which is some of the best news to come out of the Old Continent in a very long time.
Read the entire article at Hudson New York.
A disgrace for the scientific community
21.06.2011 (updated 13.07.2012). Thus writes Nicholas Wade in his New York Times article Scientists Measure the Accuracy of a Racism Claim (boldface emphasis added):
Scientists have often been accused of letting their ideology influence their results, and one of the most famous cases is that of Morton’s skulls — the global collection amassed by the 19th-century physical anthropologist Samuel George Morton.
In a 1981 book, “The Mismeasure of Man,” the paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould asserted that Morton, believing that brain size was a measure of intelligence, had subconsciously manipulated the brain volumes of European, Asian and African skulls to favor his bias that Europeans had larger brains and Africans smaller ones.
But now physical anthropologists at the University of Pennsylvania, which owns Morton’s collection, have remeasured the skulls, and in an article that does little to burnish Dr. Gould’s reputation as a scholar, they conclude that almost every detail of his analysis is wrong.
“Our results resolve this historical controversy, demonstrating that Morton did not manipulate his data to support his preconceptions, contra Gould,” they write in the current PLoS Biology.
But the Penn team finds Morton’s results were neither fudged nor influenced by his convictions. They identified and remeasured half of the skulls used in his reports, finding that in only 2 percent of cases did Morton’s measurements differ significantly from their own. These errors either were random or gave a larger than accurate volume to African skulls, the reverse of the bias that Dr. Gould imputed to Morton.
“These results falsify the claim that Morton physically mismeasured crania based on his a priori biases,” the Pennsylvania team writes.
Dr. Gould did not measure any of the skulls himself but merely did a paper reanalysis of Morton’s results. He accused Morton of various subterfuges, like leaving out subgroups to manipulate a group’s overall score. When these errors were corrected, Dr. Gould said, “there are no differences to speak of among Morton’s races.”
But Dr. Gould himself omitted subgroups in his own reanalysis, and made various errors in his calculations. When these are corrected, the differences between the racial categories recognized by Morton are as he assigned them. “Ironically, Gould’s own analysis of Morton is likely the stronger example of a bias influencing results,” the Pennsylvania team writes.
An earlier study by John S. Michael, then an undergraduate at Penn, concluded that Morton’s results were “reasonably accurate,” with no clear sign of manipulation. But when others suggested Dr. Gould had been refuted, Philip Kitcher, a philosopher of science at Columbia University, rode to his defense.
As for the new finding’s bearing on Dr. Gould’s reputation, Dr. Kitcher said: “Steve doesn’t come out as a rogue but as someone who makes mistakes. If Steve were around he would probably defend himself with great ingenuity.”
But Ralph L. Holloway, an expert on human evolution at Columbia and a co-author of the new study, was less willing to give Dr. Gould benefit of the doubt.
“I just didn’t trust Gould,” he said. “I had the feeling that his ideological stance was supreme. When the 1996 version of ‘The Mismeasure of Man’ came and he never even bothered to mention Michael’s study, I just felt he was a charlatan.”
Read the entire article in The New York Times. See also comments by Kevin MacDonald at The Occidental Observer, as well as comments by John Hawks at his Paleoanthropology, genetics, and evolution blog.
More Germanic than it thinks
19.06.2011. How Germanic is Great Britain really? Archeologists and geneticists have unveiled surprising revelations about the historical origins of people in the modern United Kingdom -- many of whom have ancestors who once crossed the North Sea. Spiegel International continues:
The fear of a violent conquest of their country is deeply engrained in the English psyche. One of the likely reasons for this fear is that their ancestors committed this misdeed themselves.
According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, two Germanic tribesmen, Hengist and Horsa, came ashore on the coast of Kent in southeast England in the year 449. They had sailed 600 kilometers (372 miles) down the coast from their native North Frisia, and had then made the crossing to a green and pleasant Britain.
The country they encountered was a cultivated place. Emperor Claudius had declared the island a Roman province in 43 A.D., and had introduced theaters and paved streets. There were 30,000 people living in Londinium in late antiquity.
All of this was destroyed, however, when the adventurers -- who became more and more numerous as families were reunited -- arrived from across the sea.
Continue reading in Spiegel International.
Council of Europe raises alarm
16.06.2011. The following news item is copied from ANSAmed (emphasis added):
Racism has become widespread, consolidated and 'legitimised' in Europe, fostered by the rise of extreme right-wing parties and referendums on religious minorities and foreigners. This is an synthesis of the alarm raised by the Council of Europe in the commission's report against racism and intolerance published today. According to the ECRI commission document, in 2010 racist and intolerant speech and behaviours ceased definitively to be solely the domain of extremist and marginal groups in European societies. Over the past year growing electoral success was achieved by extreme right-wing parties in many European states, accompanied by an ever more frequent use of xenophobic arguments by political leaders and a worrisome increase in referendums against religious minorities and foreigners. Faced with this legitimisation of intolerance and racism aimed at minorities, whether the latter be the Roma ethnic group, immigrants, or Muslim, ECRI says that the current laws prohibiting ''hate speech'' are no longer adequate. According to the Council of Europe body, members of parliament must take on a clear ethical code which makes it ''impossible'' to make use of racist speech, and that all parties and politicians voluntarily sign a document obliging them to adhere to ''good practices''. ECRI has also warned of the danger inherent in the ever-more widespread speeches based on the idea that some communities are so different form each other that they cannot live together.
''This ideology,'' reports ECRI, ''threatens social cohesion as much as the ideology based on racial superiority.'' (ANSAmed).
HonestThinking comments: The currently ongoing social experiment known as multiculturalism is producing a lot of undesirable results, which means we need to have frank and honest discussions about the reasons why multiculturalism is not working as its proponents were hoping. ECRI, however, seems to have no other answers than censorship.
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