Culture, politics, science, philosophy.
General manifesto ***** Immigration manifesto
The deep Crisis of the West
Must be defeated
05.06.2017. Many imams in the West -- citizens of the United States, Canada and other countries -- use their pulpits to promote practices that go against democratic values and ultimately lead to terrorism. Thus begins Saied Shoaaib his article Defeating Extremist Islam - A Western Imperative. He later continues (italics in original):
Contrary to some claims, the type of clerics who preach murder and sexual abuse in North American and European mosques do not suffer from poor socioeconomic conditions and are not mentally unbalanced. Rather, they are loyal followers of an interpretation of Islam that envisions the establishment of a worldwide caliphate governed by sharia law. They deeply believe that the only way to enter Allah's paradise is to live by the letter of the Quran and the Hadith (the words and deeds of the Prophet Muhammed).
Muslim innovators abound in the West, as well, and should be the ones establishing mosques, educational institutions and media outlets, to provide followers with an alternative to political Islamism. Finally, imams in Western countries must be held to the same standard as members of other professions. They should be required to receive occupational licenses, based on criteria determined by the state, in conjunction with modern Muslims seeking a peaceful life and the ability to integrate into their societies without fear of repercussions at the hands of fundamentalists.
Read the entire article at Gatestone Institute.
See also Are Jihadists Taking over Europe?, by Giulio Meotti, Cultural Editor for Il Foglio.
«Police say that the incident is not terror-related»
21.05.2017. A video from Times Square shows the horrifying moment driver Richard Rojas plowed through a group of pedestrians and splayed them across the street. The clip from 42nd St. and 7th Ave. emerged Thursday afternoon, showing the Navy veteran's burgundy Honda Accord heading south before it makes a sudden U-turn and hits the unsuspecting crowd on the sidewalk. [...] Police say that the incident is not terror-related. Thus reports New York Daily News in Surveillance footage shows Times Square driver smashing into crowd (WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEO).
HonestThinking comments: Not terror related? Yeah, sure! See the videos and judge for yourself.
No Kids, No Problem!
16.05.2017. Europeans are increasingly less likely to see childlessness as a problem. Interestingly, gender equality within a society plays a key role. The demographers Eva-Maria Merz and Aart C. Liefbroer analysed the individual and cultural factors affecting attitudes. Thus begins the article No Kids, No Problem! - How personal and cultural factors shape attitudes toward voluntary childlessness in Europe (emphasis added):
In recent decades, more and more people in Europe have chosen not to have children. However, little is known about attitudes toward this behaviour. In their study, the researchers decided to measure attitudes toward voluntary childlessness and look at the factors that influenced people's views. They based their analysis on a large-scale sample from all walks of life in 25 European countries (European Social Survey, ESS 2005-2006).
Country level predictors: gender equality
The researchers found that people were more likely to endorse childlessness in countries with higher levels of gender equality, such as in Scandinavia, than in countries with lower gender equality, such as in Southern and Eastern Europe (see figure 1). They explain this fact by pointing out that countries with high levels of gender equality place a greater emphasis on individual autonomy and decision-making, emancipation and modernisation.
Interestingly, the highest disapproval rates toward childlessness were found in Eastern European countries, even though these countries have seen an immense decline in fertility since the collapse of communism and the transition to a liberal market economy. The researchers suggest that, although fertility behaviour might have changed, people may want to retain their traditional values, including a positive attitude toward children, to help create a feeling of security.
In contrast, a country's wealth in terms of its gross domestic product (GDP), and the level of childcare provision didn't appear to influence attitudes toward childlessness.
Personal factors: education, religion, age, and gender
Personal factors also play an important role. Younger and older respondents disapproved more of childlessness than middle-aged people. The researchers postulate that young people, particularly those who don't already have children, may expect to later become parents themselves, and are therefore less tolerant of those who choose not to have children. As for older people, the oldest of the Europeans included in the survey had experienced two wars and had been raised in traditional family homes, which made having children a virtue. As such, they disapproved of those who remained childless.
Women had a more positive attitude toward childlessness than men. The researchers explain this based on the higher "opportunity costs" for women who choose to have children: They tend to have more to lose in terms of their career opportunities than men, should they decide to become parents.
Education and religious beliefs are important too: Respondents with higher educational levels viewed childlessness more positively than people who were less well educated. The researchers speculate that this was because people with higher levels of education tend to have a more tolerant and nuanced view of human behaviour, while also facing higher opportunity costs if they have children themselves. This makes them more tolerant of people who choose to remain childless.
Religious people, on the other hand, tended to disapprove of childlessness compared to their more secular peers, irrespective of denomination. The demographers explain this by pointing to the high value placed on marriage, childbearing and family life in all monotheistic denominations.
In sum, the highly educated, the religiously uncommitted and those who value autonomy across Europe are much more likely to approve of voluntary childlessness.
Article from Population Europe.
Sleepwalking us to disaster
07.05.2017. There have never been so many childless politicians leading Europe as today. They are modern, open minded and multicultural and they know that "everything finishes with them". In the short term, being childless is a relief since it means no spending for families, no sacrifices and that no one complains about the future consequences. As in a research report financed by the European Union: "No kids, no problem!". Thus writes Italian journalist and author Giulio Meotti, Cultural Editor for Il Foglio, in his article Europe's Childless Leaders Sleepwalking Us to Disaster (llinks and italics in original):
Being a mother or a father, however, means that you have a very real stake in the future of the country you lead. Europe's most important leaders leave no children behind.
Europe's most important leaders are all childless: British PM Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and the French presidential hopeful Emmanuel Macron. The list continues with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, Luxembourg's Prime Minister Xavier Bettel and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
As Europe's leaders have no children, they seem have no reason to worry about the future of their continent. German philosopher Rüdiger Safranski wrote:
"for the childless, thinking in terms of the generations to come loses relevance. Therefore, they behave more and more as if they were the last and see themselves as standing at the end of the chain".
"Europe is committing suicide. Or at least its leaders have decided to commit suicide", wrote Douglas Murray in The Times. "Europe today has little desire to reproduce itself, fight for itself or even take its own side in an argument". Murray, in his new book, entitled The Strange Death of Europe, called it "an existential civilisational tiredness".
Continue reading at The Gatestone Institute.
Being eroded at American campuses
05.04.2017. The free speech wars on North American campuses appear to have arrived at their inevitable endpoint. For years, American and Canadian students have played around with a new form of morality in education. It is based not on a traditional concept of searching for truth or investigating and analysing ideas, but rather on the concept that the veracity of an opinion can be discerned by the person uttering it. In this way, a considerable number of people have apparently decided that a variety of "privileges" exist that make some speakers vital to listen to and others unnecessary, unless they agree to mouth a set of pre-ordained platitudes. This concept, coupled with the idea that minorities require special protection from speech, have now finally delivered the moral breakdown that was always waiting for it. The warning signs have been there for years. Thus begins Douglas Murray his article On Campus: Minority Priorities.
Not natural allies for Western liberals
26.03.2017. If liberals are in favor of freedom of speech, why do they turn a blind eye to Islamist governments such as Iran, which execute people for expressing their opinion? And why do they not let people in the West express their opinion without attacking them or even giving them the respect of hearing what they have to say? They seem, in fact, like the autocratic people from whom I was fleeing, who also did not want their simplistic, binary way of thinking to be threatened by logic or fact. Finally, a short message to liberals might go: Dear Liberal, If you truly stand for values such as peace, social justice, liberty and freedoms, your apologetic view of radical Islam is in total contradiction with all of those values. Your view even hinders the efforts of many Muslims to make a peaceful reformation in Islam precisely to advance those values. Thus writes Majid Rafizadeh in his article As a Muslim, I am Shocked by Liberals and Leftists.
Dr. Majid Rafizadeh, political scientist and Harvard University scholar is president of the International American Council on the Middle East.
A symbol of UK's predicament
24.03.2017. Welcome to London: We can say we're not afraid, light candles and make hearts of our hands but the truth is that we can't go on like this, says Katie Hopkins in her article in The Daily Mail.
Censors its own free speech
12.03.2017. The European Parliament has introduced a new procedural rule, which allows for the chair of a debate to interrupt the live broadcasting of a speaking MEP "in the case of defamatory, racist or xenophobic language or behavior by a Member". Furthermore, the President of the European Parliament may even "decide to delete from the audiovisual record of the proceedings those parts of a speech by a Member that contain defamatory, racist or xenophobic language". No one, however, has bothered to define what constitutes "defamatory, racist or xenophobic language or behavior". This omission means that the chair of any debate in the European Parliament is free to decide, without any guidelines or objective criteria, whether the statements of MEPs are "defamatory, racist or xenophobic". The penalty for offenders can apparently reach up to around 9,000 euros. Continue reading at Gatestone Institute.
Has found out that the Swedish media is dishonest
11.03.2017. Journalist Tim Pool has released a video (11 minutes) where he sums up his experience with Sweden in general, and the Swedish media in particular: Sweden has real problems.
Is absolutely right about Sweden
08.03.2017. Many journalists around the world are eager to condemn Donald Trump no matter what. When he Tweeted about immigration in Sweden a few days ago, social media exploded. Most of his opponents said that Trump made up the immigration problem Sweden has. They are wrong. Only hours later there was a violent and destructive riot by immigrants in the capitol of Sweden, Stockholm. The police were forced to shoot with live ammunition to put an end to it. In Malmö, a city in southern Sweden, they have struggled with gang violence and lawlessness for years. So when Trump talks about Sweden having an immigration problem he is actually spot on. Thus writes René Zografos in his article Trump is absolutely right about Sweden:
It's well known to Scandinavians and other Europeans that liberal immigration comes with drugs, rapes, gang wars, robbery and violence. In addition to that we see the respective nations' cultures fading away, for good and for bad. But the immigration problem is not only a Swedish predicament. The truth is that several European cities have huge immigration problems where even the police force is afraid to interfere in some neighborhoods. UK, France and several other European countries are changing rapidly with the extreme quantity of immigration. I'm not saying immigration is exclusively bad, but a lot of problems come with poor immigration policy; some of the consequences are violence, terror and gangs.
The fact is that the press here in Europe hasn't been doing their job properly. There is this fear on the part of journalists to not report the basic truth - which is that Europe has enormous problems that comes from liberal immigration politics, and as we now see not just in Sweden, but also here in Norway. But it's not politically correct for journalists to say or write that immigration in Europe is unsuccessful. With that said, most of the people that come from other countries are behaving flawlessly and are a gift to our society, but then again to report that everything is all good is simply wrong. These journalists should find another job, because they do not have the integrity that is required to be decent journalists.
For further reading on this topic, please see René Zografos' blog.
HonestThinking comments: Zografos is a blogger with Huffington Post, and the above article was initially published there. Interestingly enough, Huffington chose to censor the above article; see here for Zografos' explanation of what happened (in Norwegian).
Where females fear to tread
01.03.2017. I didn't come to Sweden for the riots. Or because of Trump. In fact, I was supposed to be here in December — before airline strikes stood in my way. I came because I was asked. Repeatedly. Swedish women reaching out by email, by letter, to quietly show me what has become of their country. Thus begins Katie Hopkins her report Where females fear to tread: Sweden, the Scandi-lib paradise where terrified women have vanished from the streets and a conspiracy of silence and self-censorship on immigration buries the truth. She concludes as follows:
I left saddened. Saddened that in a country so proud of women's rights, that leads the way on maternity and female equality, pockets of life like this exist.
Where women of all religions and colour are trapped in their home by fear.
Where young men are happy to tell me to my face that I am a white whore and make sexual gestures to show me my place.
Where the reason one women is scared to show her face is because the feminists will vilify her with racial slurs.
Where the public broadcaster wants me to accept a hand grenade in a bin is normal.
Standing in the queue for the bus, surrounded by these people, I can honestly say, I have never felt so alone.
Read the entire article in The Daily Mail.
Laughing at the messenger
01.03.2017. Once again, an American has pointed to a failing in European society, and instead of focusing on the problem identified or even admitting that there is a problem, the European response has been to point at the American and blame him for creating the problem he has in fact merely identified. We are being given an accurate representation of a serious problem. If the response to every problem is denial, and the response to anyone pointing to the problem is opprobrium, legal threats or hilarity, it suggests that Europe is not going to make the softer-landing it could yet give itself in addressing these issues. It might make us feel better, but every time we attack or laugh at the messenger, rather than addressing the message, we ensure that our own future will be less funny. Thus Douglas Murray introduces his article about Europe's denial of its current problems at Gatestone Institute.
See also: Swedish Ambulance Union: 'We need military equipment to protect medics from hand grenades'.
What is the truth about the situation in Sweden?
27.02.2017. The U.S. media debate has been misleading, but the biggest problem is that the Swedish political establishment doesn't want to know the answer. Thus writes Tino Sanandaji in his article in National Review.
Tino Sanandaji has a Ph.D. in Public Policy from the University of Chicago, and is currently a researcher at the Institute for Economic and Business History Research in Stockholm.
Police protection unit leaked information to Moroccan crime syndicate
22.02.2017. Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad broke the news late on 21 February, that confidential police information has been regularly leaked to a Moroccan-Dutch criminal organisation, from a police service, which is charged with the security of Geert Wilders and members of the Royal Household. An experienced police officer from a Moroccan background, working with the so-called Service Safety and Security (DBB), is suspected of having sent information derived from police investigations to members of a criminal organisation guilty of fencing and laundering criminal money. According to a number of high-ranking police officers, the officer in question was tasked with so-called 'area scans'. Hij reconnoitred locations that threatened people like Geert Wilders would visit. For his work, the officer had access to a database with highly confidential information. "For work of this nature, you need to be able to request almost all information that you think you need," according to an investigating officer. The officer suspected of corruption has been apprehended last Monday on suspicion of violating professional secrecy and is suspended from duties. Thus reports Gatestone Europe, and later continues:
An officer involved in the investigation states:
"The problem with these corruption investigations is that the apprehended policemen's loyalty to their Moroccan family members and friends outweighs their loyalty to the police department."
The police services have had to cope with unrest for some time now. In November 2016, a report found that the DBB suffered from distrust amongst officers, miscommunication and conflicts. The head of the service resigned as a result.
The officer is the second with a Moroccan background to be suspected of corruption within a year, which is called a severe blow to the policy of diversity in the police force.
Read the entire article at Gatestone Europe.
An ever more severe disaster
16.02.2017. Criminals trying to recruit students. Brawls between different ethnic groups. Drug dealing. Welcome to the prestigious Värnhem School in central Mälmo. Swedish newspaper Expressen paints a stark picture of the school confronted with so many trouble and problems, it had to install fences and hire security personnel. Still the situation got so out of hand the school had to close down for two days after large, running battles within the school, a week before its students were to serve at the Nobel Prize dinner. Thus writes Vincent van den Born of Gatestone Europe. He later continues (link and italics in original):
The fighting spreads, spilling out into the streets around the school. There, a student is beaten up so severely by multiple people, an ambulance has to take him to hospital. Three times the fighting flairs up again. At the end of the afternoon, the school's administration, after consultation with the police, decides to close the school completely. Almost two thousand students are sent home. The Board of Education takes it a step further. Värnhem will be closed on Monday as well and the teachers have to regain control in order to ensure the students safety. A decision is made to hire guards.
Wednesday, 11 January 2017. Two of the security guards on Värnhem press the alarm when a sixteen-year-old and an eighteen-year-old shove them, threaten further violence within the school. Police come to the scene. The students resist. The youngest even comes to blows with one of the policemen.
There are about thirty police reports of events occurring on, or just outside of the school from all of last year and up to a few weeks ago. Everything from the theft of e-readers to abuse. On 19 January, a security guard to a stun gun from the seventeen-year-old student who brought it with him to school. After all that, the teachers are now getting a text message on their phones as soon as a fight is observed, telling them to run to the front desk to find out where it is taking place.
Fences, security guards, the aura not of a school, but of a prison. Several of the teachers Expressen talked to seem to think that this is the future of schools in Sweden. Nearby elementary schools also want security guards and surrounding fences to create some kind of security. But it is a fleeting security. Can fences protect against students recreating IS-executions, or the sexual harassment of six-year-old girls inside?
When Expressen reporters are on the school grounds, the principal of Värnhem – whom they interviewed the day before – stops and asks them what they are doing. She doesn't like reporters hanging around. "It's not interesting," she said when Expressen first told her they wanted to do a story on the school. She fears the bad publicity.
The reason? In 2015, Värnhem received an award for taking in the highest number of newly arrived pupils in all of Malmö. The school's problems, to an important degree, stem from allowing too many immigrant pupils in, in too short a time and not having the money, or the forethought, of arranging for the extra problems these new pupils bring.
Read the entire article at Gatestone Europe.
Some journalists and editors should have a look in the mirror
31.01.2017. The New York Times' White House correspondent Maggie Haberman, who is also a CNN analyst, recently tweeted the following question, "Other than San Bernardino shootings, has there been a terrorist attack involving a non-US-born attacker since 9/11?". Other media personalities have posed posed similar questions or made statements along the same line. Kyle Shideler attempts to set the record straight in Here's A Short List Of Foreign-Born Terrorists Reporters Can't Believe Exist.
Becoming ever more lawless
29.01.2017. Migrant youth gangs have turned Sweden's largest shopping centre, Nordstan in Gothenburg, into a "no-go zone" as they intimidate police, harass girls and deal drugs openly. Thus reports the Sunday Express in Lawless Sweden: Violent migrant youths turn shopping centre into 'no-go zone'.
See also these recent articles:
How did it happen?
27.01.2017. The following article by Brendan O'Neill in The Spectator is so short and to the point that I quote it in its entirety. Trump! How did this happen?:
It happened because you banned super-size sodas. And smoking in parks. And offensive ideas on campus. Because you branded people who oppose gay marriage 'homophobic', and people unsure about immigration 'racist'.
Because you treated owning a gun and never having eaten quinoa as signifiers of fascism. Because you thought correcting people's attitudes was more important than finding them jobs. Because you turned 'white man' from a description into an insult. Because you used slurs like 'denier' and 'dangerous' against anyone who doesn't share your eco-pieties.
Because you treated dissent as hate speech and criticism of Obama as extremism. Because you talked more about gender-neutral toilets than about home repossessions. Because you beatified Caitlyn Jenner. Because you policed people's language, rubbished their parenting skills, took the piss out of their beliefs.
Because you cried when someone mocked the Koran but laughed when they mocked the Bible. Because you said criticising Islam is Islamophobia. Because you kept telling people, 'You can't think that, you can't say that, you can't do that.'
Because you turned politics from something done by and for people to something done to them, for their own good. Because you treated people like trash. And people don't like being treated like trash. Trump happened because of you.
Quoted from The Spectator.
What could possibly be more scary?
27.01.2017. So today's the day. Any minute now Donald J Trump will be sworn in as the 45th president of the United States of America. Hair Force One is about to land. And it will be a historic moment. Not because Trump is the saviour of the 'forgotten' men and women of America, as he put it outside the Lincoln Memorial last night. Nor because he's some sort of white-supremacist counter-revolutionary about to awake an army of goose-stepping pussy grabbers, as his more vociferous critics would have it. But because, in plumping for Trump, the electorate dealt a blow to technocracy, to a narrow, elitist status quo, to a caste of people who openly revile them, and who are now in open revolt against them. The word 'unprecedented' is chucked around a lot in relation to Trump. And indeed he is. Thus begins Tom Slater his article What's scarier than Trump? The elit revolt against him. He later continues:
But what's also 'unprecedented', and far more destructive, is the reaction to him. Ever since Trump arrived on the political scene commentators have chided him for breaking 'democratic norms' – from his spreading of 'birther' conspiracy theories about Obama to his threat to lock up Hillary. But the American elite, in a post-vote fit of pique, has decided to break the biggest democratic norm of them all: respecting the result of a freely held election. Because there's another word that has been flung at Trump in the days approaching his inauguration: 'illegitimate'. And this isn't just being uttered by trustifarian protesters, due to descend on Washington en masse in a tantrum-like demo against democracy. It's being uttered by broadsheet commentators and respected political leaders.
In the congressmen boycotting the inauguration, in the celebrities railing against Trump at award shows and on social media, you glimpse a group of people who act and think like an aristocracy. In rendering Trump illegitimate, they are really refusing to confer their legitimacy on him. Who do they think they are? In a democracy, it is the demos who confers legitimacy, who lends leaders their power. If there's one positive thing about President Trump, it's that his election has revealed just how detached, anti-democratic – how 'illegitimate' – the American elite is.
Read the entire article in Spiked.
Leading a European war against free speech?
27.01.2017. The elites and intellectuals are apparently now counted among the German minorities in need of protection. Toward the end of last year, Germany experienced a previously unheard-of boycott campaign – funded by the German government, no less -- against several websites, such as the popular "Axis of Good" ("Achse des Guten"). The website, critical of the government, was suddenly accused of "right-wing populism". The German government's efforts at thought control seem to have begun with the victory of Donald J. Trump in the US presidential election -- that seems to set the "establishment" off. Germany's foreign minister and the probable future federal president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier -- one of the first to travel to Iran after the removal of sanctions there to kowtow to the Ayatollahs -- called America's future president a "hate preacher". Germany's newspapers were suddenly littered with apocalyptic predictions and anti-American fulminations. Thus begins Stefan Frank his article Germany's New 'Ministry of Truth' War against Free Speech (italics in original):
For hard-core Trump-haters, however, a witch hunt by itself is insufficient; they want activism! Since November, Germany's left-wing parties have had a strong increase in membership, as reported by Der Spiegel. At the same time, the federal government evidently decided, at least regarding the federal elections taking place in 2017, that it would no longer count on journalists' self-censorship. The German government, instead of merely hoping that newspapers would voluntarily -- or under pressure from the Press Council -- refrain from criticising the government's immigration policies, decided that it, itself, would inaugurate censorship.
The Federal Government's "Ministry of Truth"
To this effect, as reported by Der Spiegel, the Federal Interior Ministry, intends to set up a "Defense Center against Disinformation ("Abwehrzentrum gegen Desinformation") in the fight against "fake news on social networks". "Abwehr" -- the name of Nazi Germany's military intelligence agency -- is apparently meant to demonstrate the government's seriousness regarding the matter.
"It sounds like the Ministry of Truth, 'Minitrue,' from George Orwell's dystopian novel 1984", wrote even the left-leaning daily, Frankfurter Rundschau.
Frank Überall, national head of the German Association of Journalists (DJV), bluntly stated: "This smells like censorship."
It seems that all ideas suspected of being "populist" -- or simply those ideas without the blessing of the elites – will now be banned in Germany. This restriction applies to criticism of the government (especially regarding immigration and energy policies), of the EU, of Islam, of government officials and of the media.
The Federal Agency for Political Education -- the information agency of the Interior Ministry – is quite open about it: "Anti-elitism", "anti-intellectualism", "anti-politics" and "hostility toward institutions" are the "key characteristics of populism".
Those Not Reading Newspapers are Suspect
Hensel went one step farther. In the style of a prosecutor during the Inquisition, he called to break the "dominance of right-wing micro media". He seems to consider particularly dangerous and subversive, anyone who reads articles that do not originate from one of Germany's media empires:
"While I may satisfy my thirst for information with my subscriptions to ZEIT or Le Mode Diplomatique, the brave new-right freedom-fighter likes to stay informed via online media such as the Axis of Good or Breitbart News."
This alone raises several suspicions. Hensel, whose website (which since December can only be accessed with a password) is graced by the display of a Soviet red star, likes to eliminate his opponents swiftly. Breitbart, for example, is deemed fascist ("salon-fascists"). Why? Because the blog -- and here he, supposedly for simplicity's sake, quotes an article from the Süddeutsche Zeitung -- "covers all the topics of German right-wing populism"; Breitbart reports about "the migrant and refugee policies of the German federal government, as well as of supposed criminal acts conducted by migrants and Islamic activities."
Hensel's solution? Boycott!
"There is freedom of speech in my stupid little world. Undoubtedly, websites such as Breitbart News and the Axis of Good... are legal media. Nevertheless, one could ask brand names whether they... are aware that their banner ads appear on these particular websites and represent their brand there."
This type of "asking", of course, roughly corresponds to the mafia "asking" the pizzeria owner if he has fire insurance.
Propaganda Offensive ahead of the Federal Election
The Hamburger Abendblatt daily referred to Hensel's campaign as an "attack on the freedom of the press," adding: "It seems as if the shot from the activists backfired."
As in communist dictatorships, the more obvious the failings of the government, the more aggressively the establishment attacks those who speak out about them.
Read the entire article (with lots of embedded links to further reading) at Gatestone Institute.
Moving in the direction of totalitarianism
23.01.2017 (updated 27.01.2017). Officials in Germany's Interior Ministry are urging Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière to establish a "Defense Center against Disinformation" (Abwehrzentrum gegen Desinformation) to combat what they call "political disinformation," a euphemism for "fake news." "The acceptance of a post-truth age would amount to political capitulation," the officials told Maizière in a memo, which also disclosed that the bureaucrats at the Interior Ministry are eager to see "authentic political communication" remain "defining for the 21st century." One wonders whether by "authentic political communication," the officials of the Interior Ministry are referring to the way German authorities scrambled to cover up the mass sexual attacks on women on New Year's Eve a year ago in Cologne? At the time, German police first claimed, surreally, on the morning of January 1, 2016, that the situation on New Year's Eve had been "relaxed." Cologne Police Chief Wolfgang Albers later dryly admitted, "This initial statement was incorrect." Alternatively, perhaps they are referring to the decision of Germany's public broadcaster, ZDF, not to report on the attacks until four days after they had occurred? Even a former government official, Hans-Peter Friedrich, Chancellor Angela Merkel's Interior Minister from 2011 to 2013, accused the media at the time of imposing a "news blackout" and operating a "code of silence" over negative news about immigrants. How is that for "authentic political communication"? Thus writes Judith Bergman in her article on Germany's New Propaganda Bureau, highlights of which include:
- A married couple, Peter and Melanie M., were prosecuted and convicted in July 2016 of creating a Facebook group that criticized the government's migration policy. Also, in July 2016, 60 people suspected of writing "hate speech" online had their homes raided by German police.
- None of the above seems to be enough, however, for the president of the Bundestag, Norbert Lammert, from Angela Merkel's CDU party, who believes that what Facebook is already doing against "hate speech" is not enough. According to the CDU politician, there is a need for more legislation.
- The German government's view of what constitutes "hate speech" is highly selective and appears limited to protecting the government's own policies on immigration from legitimate criticism.
- Firebombing a synagogue, however, is simply an "act of protest".
Read the entire article at Gatestone Institute.
Connected to Daesh/ISIL?
08.01.2017. At least five people have been killed in an attack at Fort Lauderdale airport by a gunman who had reportedly previously told the FBI he was being forced to fight for ISIL. Esteban Santiago, a 26-year-old who had been treated for mental health issues, opened fire inside the baggage area of the busy airport and was taken into custody at the scene. He was carrying military ID and was wearing a Star Wars t-shirt. On Friday night law enforcement officials reportedly said that in November last year, Santiago had told the FBI in Anchorage that voices in his head were forcing him to join and fight for Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil). Officials said he was not on a watchlist of people suspected of Islamist radicalisation. Continue reading in The Telegraph. See also The Daily Mail: #1 and #2.
Should reconsider their ways
03.01.2017. What on earth is going on in the Western democracies? From the rise of Donald Trump in the United States and an assortment of right-wing parties across Europe through the June 23 Brexit vote, many on the Left have the sense that something dangerous and ugly is spreading: right-wing populism, seen as the Zika virus of politics. Something has gotten into "those people" that makes them vote in ways that seem—to their critics—likely to harm their own material interests, at least if their leaders follow through in implementing isolationist policies that slow economic growth. Thus writes Jonathan Haidt in the introduction to his July 2016 article When and Why Nationalism Beats Globalism - And how moral psychology can help explain and reduce tensions between the two (links in original):
Most analyses published since the Brexit vote focus on economic factors and some version of the "left behind" thesis—globalization has raised prosperity all over the world, with the striking exception of the working classes in Western societies. These less educated members of the richest countries lost access to well-paid but relatively low-skilled jobs, which were shipped overseas or given to immigrants willing to work for less. In communities where wages have stagnated or declined, the ever-rising opulence, rents, and confidence of London and other super-cities has bred resentment.
A smaller set of analyses, particularly in the United States, has focused on the psychological trait of authoritarianism to explain why these populist movements are often so hostile to immigration, and why they usually have an outright racist fringe.
Globalization and authoritarianism are both essential parts of the story, but in this essay I will put them together in a new way. I'll tell a story with four chapters that begins by endorsing the distinction made by the intellectual historian Michael Lind, and other commentators, between globalists and nationalists—these are good descriptions of the two teams of combatants emerging in so many Western nations. Marine Le Pen, the leader of the French National Front, pointed to the same dividing line last December when she portrayed the battle in France as one between "globalists" and "patriots."
But rather than focusing on the nationalists as the people who need to be explained by experts, I'll begin the story with the globalists. I'll show how globalization and rising prosperity have changed the values and behavior of the urban elite, leading them to talk and act in ways that unwittingly activate authoritarian tendencies in a subset of the nationalists. I'll show why immigration has been so central in nearly all right-wing populist movements. It's not just the spark, it's the explosive material, and those who dismiss anti-immigrant sentiment as mere racism have missed several important aspects of moral psychology related to the general human need to live in a stable and coherent moral order. Once moral psychology is brought into the story and added on to the economic and authoritarianism explanations, it becomes possible to offer some advice for reducing the intensity of the recent wave of conflicts.
Continue reading in The American Interest.
Jonathan Haidt is a social psychologist and professor in the Business and Society Program at New York University—Stern School of Business. He is the author of The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion.
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