The Islamic World War.

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With news of Saudi F-15 warplanes carrying out airstrikes on Shia positions in Yemen, the formation by Egypt of a United Arab military force, Sunni militants seeking the violent overthrow of a pro-Iran regime in Syria, and bubbling tensions in Bahrain and Iraq, you would be forgiven for thinking an Islamic World War is on the near horizon.

You may well be right.

Having simmered and spat for over a decade now, Sunni-Shia hostilities seem to be rushing to the surface in every country in the Dar es Salaam. Despite the likely cost of a such civil war, no Western policy seems capable of arresting it, and the process has an energy detached from all economic or political consideration.

Before looking at where we, in the West, should stand on all this, let us first look at the military, or civilizational balance between the two sides.

The Shia Coalition.

1. Iran.

According to outside analysis, the Islamic Republic of Iran has a military capacity roughly on a par with Saudi Arabia, with the latter’s technical edge sanded down by the former’s weight of numbers. Unlike Saudi’s quarter-million standing force, Iran’s army can marshal up to 900,000 soldiers (excluding state militias) and there is a wealth of dated yet still operational equipment from the Soviet Union for them to employ.

2. Iraq.

Despite the fact the two countries were once bitterly at war, it is increasingly naïve to consider modern Iraq as a separate political entity to Iran. Politically and diplomatically, the countries are in lockstep with one another, and the true source of Iraqi policy is now Tehran. All this means in practice is that Iran’s military-age population has increased by about 20 million and its oil reserves by 100%. If this integration continues, Iran will be a regional superpower, possessing or having influence over the greatest store of extractable oil in the world.

Iraq is yet to develop regular armed forces capable of acting independently

3. Southern Lebanon.

The Southern part of Lebanon (and to a limited extent, the national capital, Beirut) is currently occupied by Hezbollah, a Shia terrorist group loyal to Iran. At war, Hezbollah has proven to be surprisingly capable and it remains armed to the teeth due to historic weapons transfers from Russia, via Iran and Syria.

Hezbollah has between 4,000 and 65,000 fighters.

The Sunni Quintet.

1. Turkey.

By far the most militarily powerful country in the Islamic World, the Republic of Turkey is also increasingly aware of its position as a bulwark of the Sunni coalition. Having wrecked its alliance with Israel, elected an Islamist government, abandoned attempts to break into Europe, and made no attempt to resolve the conflict with the Kurds, Ankara appears readier than ever to play a part in a regional conflagration.

Turkey has already offered Saudi Arabia logistical aid in combating the Shia rebels in Yemen, and has vocally condemned Iranian activity in the region as a whole. The nation has pre-existing links with a variety of Sunni countries, including Egypt and Syria.

Of course, Turkey’s anti-Iranian sentiments may be due to more than religious conviction. Ankara is famously terrified by the aspirations of the Kurds, an Iranic people who possess strong links to Pan-Iranic Nationalists in Iran. Further complicating this is the fact that at least a quarter of Iran’s population are Turkic Azeris who routinely complain about Persian supremacism in the Iranian state.

Turkey can marshal roughly 1 million soldiers.

2. Pakistan.

The only Islamic country to possess an independent nuclear force, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan must be taken into account in any analysis or projection. Virulently anti-Shia, riddled with extremism and perennially unstable, Pakistan has been warmly embraced by Sunni supremacists like Osama Bin Laden, and the country remains an invaluable ally for the Saudis, who are said to be close to securing a nuclear weapon from the Pakistani stockpile.

Pakistan can marshal over a million soldiers.

3. Egypt.

The state of Egypt and its future direction is hard to judge. Despite being over 85% Sunni and the historic birthplace of radical Islam, the government in Cairo claims (for now) to be intent on a pro-Western path of secular reform. Only time can tell us whether this is possible or sincere, but if it isn’t, then the Sunni side of the conflict would benefit immeasurably, Egypt having the second most powerful military in the Islamic world (1.3 million soldiers).

4. Saudi Arabia.

The spiritual, financial and historic executive of the Sunni world, Saud Arabia has the world’s fourth largest military budget and the largest known oil reserves on Earth. Saudi investment companies own a considerable slice of Western meta-economy, granting Riyadh considerable diplomatic influence over the modern world. Saudi’s standing army numbers around 250,000 soldiers, but there are plans to increase this.

5. The Gulf.

The states of the Gulf, namely, Kuwait, the UAE and Qatar are among the richest nations on Earth, and possess small but very high-tech militaries. Gulf foreign policy is usually harmonious with that of the Saudis.

Combined, the number of active soldiers in the Gulf States is 105,000.

The Balance.

Sunni Quintet Military Forces – 3,655,000 – the larger Sunni world having 80% of the world’s Muslim civilian population.

Shia Coalition Military Forces – 930,000 – the larger Shia world having 15% of the world’s Muslim civilian population.

As should be obvious from this analysis, the Sunnis resoundingly outgun and outnumber the Shia. Indeed, if Iran was to fall apart or be drawn into a self-destructive war with Israel, the Shia would be left almost defenceless and vulnerable to outright genocide.

With that being said, a war as large as this can cause a lot of destruction before an inevitable outcome is reached.

Where Should We Stand?

Who should we side with in this developing conflict? In my own view, we should pick no side at all. A mad, religious conflict of this type has no relevance to the Western world, and neither the Sunni or the Shia have behaved in a such a way as to merit our allegiance.

Who will we side with? Well, given oil politics and the economic structure of the world, the West seems predestined to back up the Sunni-dominated order of the Middle East. The Saudis, Qataris, Kuwaitis, Egyptians and Turks are currently allied with the EU and America, while all the Shia states (save Iraq) are considered enemies. This will mean a short but destabilising war, ending in a Sunni victory.

Along the way, America may use the aggression of Iran towards Sunni states as a green light for action against the Ayatollahs. Israel may feel compelled to act against Hezbollah. A direct confrontation between ISIS and the Iranians may occur in Syria and central Iraq. Nevertheless, the end result can be foreseen in photographic detail, a Muslim world unchanged in its fundamental poverty.

I’ll close with an obvious but vital reflection: As all this blood is pointlessly shed in faraway lands, we should remind ourselves how luxurious it is to live in a 21st century civilisation; a condition far from perfect, but one that is infinitely preferable to the alternative.

D, LDN.

Never Forget Armenia.

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I write this post in part to heartily recommend a book ‘The Burning Tigris’ by the scholar Peter Balakian, which has so gloomed my imagination for the past week. Its subject-matter must be reflected on if we are to stand any chance of understanding our current predicament.

Though the numbers continue to be debated – both dispassionately and for crude political reasons – few can deny that the Armenian people were subjected to a nightmare by the Ottoman Empire in the first decades of the Twentieth Century, or that this massacre or genocide has things to tell us about the European future if we fail to uphold our geo-cultural integrity.

Whether 300,000 or 1.5 million, the Armenian population dropped sharply in numbers as the Ottoman Empire entered its final collapse. The Young Turk barbarians, seeking to carve out a single homogenous Turkic state out of a multi-cultural empire, felt they had no choice but to remove the elements most hostile to their design. Naturally, this meant those who did not wish to be subsumed by an Islamic majority. Naturally this meant the Armenians.

An ancient people, and a very important one at that, the Armenians were among the first to adopt Christianity as their national religion, and some argue the faith’s later spread would have been greatly retarded had they not converted when they did. Some of the oldest and most ornate churches stand in Armenia and the Christian faith has dominated its affairs for over 1500 years. To the grinning lust of Jihadi eyes, this made them a symbolic target as well as a political one. They were a spot missed by the Islamic conquests, and a disgracing patch of dissent in a sea of barbaric consensus.

When we speak of the Islamic conquest, we are not speaking of a single, continuous event but of two massive Blitzkriegs, each of them centuries apart. The first is most familiar. Acting on Muhammad’s sayings, the Arabs of the Arabian peninsula stormed the ancient world, converting the nations of the Middle East and North Africa before petering out in France.

Much later, the Turks, a Mongolian people who had laid down roots in Anatolia, picked up the muddied banner of Jihad and pushed into South-Eastern Europe and Central Asia. By the time both storms had passed, the Armenians, by some miracle of fortune, had survived.

Their Turkish political overlords had failed to extinguish and were now intimidated by their ethnic self-awareness and deeply held Christian beliefs. The Ottomans arrested Armenian intellectuals and outlawed the expression of Armenian identity (as they do now to Kurds). In that grimly familiar process, physical persecution is always the final policy.

The majority of the Armenians who died in the genocide were resident in what is now Turkish territory. Most of the early fatalities were military-age males, judged to be a threat to Turkic supremacy and ongoing nationalist reforms. Later in the campaign, men, women and children alike were driven into the unforgiving Syrian desert and left to die.

There is ample evidence to suggest Adolf Hitler took inspiration from the Turks when designing his own sick project. The world’s inaction when civilians were disposed of in frightening numbers, suggested to the devils of the world that anything was possible with a black heart and an iron will. Pure evil begat pure evil.

Until very recently, the history of Modern Armenia has been one of different tyrannies. The Ottoman Empire and Soviet Union held the nation in bondage for much of the Twentieth century. The free Armenia that stands today deserves our most energetic solidarity and respect.

D, LDN.

Hitler Was an Atheist.

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By far the most obnoxious trait in the movement described (somewhat grandly) as the ‘New Atheism’ is the denial of well-established historical facts. In a flagrantly dishonest campaign, the propagandists of unbelief have sought to depict a cartoon version of history; one in which religion was the source of all malady and science the soft-spoken voice of moderation and progress.

This is anti-history, plain and simple. It is as abusive to the truth as anything attempted by the religious or political.

The Russian communists were, despite what the New Atheists say, a viciously anti-religious gang of crooks who took immense delight in arresting and killing those still committed to immaterial beliefs. Such actions are thus directly attributable to their atheism. There is no other way of justifying (if that is even possible) the burning of Russian churches.

Likewise, Adolf Hitler, despite what the New Atheists say, was a very committed – distinctly German – unbeliever, who saw Semitic faiths as foreign and harmful to the natural instincts of the Aryan folk.

Being a canny politician in a still religious nation, Hitler inevitably made friendly gestures to the Church in public (and these are the statements shamelessly cited by the New Atheists, who are surely aware of their context). But in private, Hitler was – as we all are in private – more honest in describing the vibrations of his heart.

“Christianity” he said in the presence of Martin Bormann “is a rebellion against natural law, a protest against nature. Taken to its logical extreme, Christianity would mean the systematic cultivation of the human failure.”

In another conversation, the meth-head Fuhrer let loose the following rant: “The heaviest blow that ever struck humanity was the coming of Christianity. Bolshevism is Christianity’s illegitimate child. Both are inventions of the Jew. The deliberate lie in the matter of religion was introduced into the world by Christianity. Bolshevism practises a lie of the same nature, when it claims to bring liberty to men, whereas in reality it seeks only to enslave them. In the ancient world, the relations between men and gods were founded on an instinctive respect. It was a world enlightened by the idea of tolerance. Christianity was the first creed in the world to exterminate its adversaries in the name of love. Its key-note is intolerance.”

This is not even worth arguing about, of course. It is so obvious to the reasonable that debate can only have a recreational value. It is nevertheless infuriating to hear New Atheist claims made without repudiation on a regular basis. Hitler was not a Christian. He was a pure-blooded atheist, and his actions were only allowed for by a non-Christian system of ethics.

D, LDN.

Anti-Semitism: Real and Imagined.

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Ever since the rather hysterical reaction to Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech to congress and later re-election as Prime Minster of Israel, I’ve been thinking at length about anti-Semitism in the modern world, how intense it is, and where it might ultimately lead. I’ve also tried to properly define ‘anti-Semitism’ – that is, of the most serious kind, as opposed to the ethnic banter that occurs (between all groups and cultures) on a daily basis.

After all, not all anti-Semitism leads to Auschwitz. Some of it is simply laziness. I remember, many years ago, passing a London Synagogue with a friend. As we were directly outside of it, he pointed at the building and sighed “Look at that” in a low, defeated tone of voice.

“What?” I asked, adding “It’s a Synagogue.”

Frowning at my reply, my friend shifted his fingertip to the parking lot outside. “Those cars, I mean… Jags, BMWs, Mercs. You know what I mean?”

And the conversation (if it can be called that) ended there. The insinuation was obvious and was duly taken on board.

Now, is this Anti-Semitism, or just plain envy? Many people readily confuse the two, and this, I think, detracts from our ability to face down anti-Jewish hatred of the most serious kind. (My friend incidentally is a working-class, apolitical Irishman, with whom I used to bunk off school and who more or less belongs to the ‘salt of the earth’ type.)

If that is ‘casual’ anti-Semitism, another modern type is comical or ‘ironic’ anti-Semitism. In an episode of Family Guy, a Jewish high school pupil objects to being asked to dissect a pig, to which the teacher drily replies, “Believe me Neil, it’s no thrill for the pig to touch a Jew either.”

This is clearly near to the bone, but nobody upon hearing it would think of joining the KKK or ANP. This is sub-political thinking and doesn’t treat Jews with the seriousness preferred by genuine fascists.

Of course, even I have at one time or another been accused of anti-Semitism, as has anyone who forwards arguments of the political kind. I once noted for example that American Jews enjoy a dominant position in the American film industry. I found (and find) it bizarre and unnecessary to deny something so obvious. For this, I received emails of mockery and hateful accusations.

The use of the ‘Anti-Semite’ label in cases like that is irresponsible, especially as anti-Semitism of the most lethal kind appears to be enjoying a secretive renaissance. Let’s break some more taboos…

Jews have vastly superior verbal intelligence scores than Gentiles. Ashkenazi Jews are more intelligent on average than any other division of the human population. Jewish representation in the scientific, political and cultural elites of the West is massively disproportionate to their numbers. Jews have taken pains in their history (for religious reasons) to prevent integration with non-Jewish communities. The Jewish religious belief that they are a chosen tribe favoured by God has often contributed to the hostile attitudes of those who live alongside them.

Not one of these observations is powerful or scurrilous enough to unleash a new Holocaust and should not be treated like that. The ideas motivating real hostility to Jews in the modern world have nothing to do with widely known, if publically denied, facts. Rather they are the product of a uniquely complex style of conspiratorial thinking.

Kevin Macdonald, a Canadian professor of Evolutionary Psychology, should be considered the grand wizard of modern anti-Jewish feeling. His trilogy of books – The Culture of Critique, A People Who Shall Dwell Alone and Separation and Its Discontents – have encouraged millions to sign up to a hatred that had been in a period of terminal decline.

Macdonald’s basic theorem is that Jews have organised in such a way as to degrade the spirit of kinship in their ‘host’ societies, thereby preventing an ethno-nationalism that could exclude or threaten them from coming into existence. They are said to achieve this by organising cultural, political and intellectual movements that complicate or oppose White ethnic interests. Examples of this include Bolshevism, Psychoanalysis, interracial pornography and open-door immigration.

Macdonald backs up his assertions with a heavy weight of evidence and quotation, giving the ideas expressed a veneer of scientific detachment and legitimacy. Despite this, no respected figure in Macdonald’s field of evolutionary psychology takes his contentions seriously, and luminaries from other fields – including Steven Pinker and Jared Diamond – treat them with lofty ridicule.

They are wrong to be so dismissive. Macdonald’s thesis is spreading like wildfire. The explanatory promise of his ideas makes them irresistible in an age as distrustful and anti-political as ours.  On websites like 4chan, Stormfront, reddit and on innumerable blogs, the idea that Jews have damaged the prospects of White civilisation is omnipresent. I spend a lot of time on these sites (to attune myself to the popular zeitgeist) and come across arguments traceable back to Macdonald on a daily basis.

Part of what makes Macdonald’s theories so strong is the inbuilt defences he has implanted in them. His family of theories are designed in such a way as to make Jewish counter-arguments seem like a confirmation of their validity. In ‘Separation and its Discontents’, Macdonald argues that the charge of ‘anti-Semitism’ is an integral part of the Jewish project to stop Whites finding an independent voice.

I don’t know how this shadowy renaissance will pan out, but the fact these ideas remain plausible should teach us all a vital lesson: that Anti-Semitism remains a dangerously toxic and regressive element in the global system, and that if it ever reaches 20th century proportions again, it will not be due to comical or political asides, but to the semi-scientific theories of the intellectual fringe.

D, LDN.

Islam’s View of Christianity.

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When photos were published this week depicting ISIS fighters in Iraq tearing down the cross from a church roof and replacing it with the flag of their movement, some in the West were moved to express surprise. This is because, for all their hatred and self-absorption, Islamists are said to be respectful of Christian beliefs, seeing the religion as a kindred, yet imperfect, predecessor to their own.

Jesus (or ‘Isa) is venerated in Islam as a ‘Prophet’ and many other Biblical figures from Moses (Musa) to Joseph (Yusaf) to Abraham (Ibrahim) are awarded a similarly lofty place in the same tradition.

Of course, Muslims do not believe that Christ rose from the dead, that he will return to gather his flock into a new paradise, or that he was the literal son of God. But they do revere him, in the same way they revere Muhammad – as a non-divine speaker of spiritual truth.

And it’s also true that the Qur’an’s brotherly talk of the ‘People of the Book’, said to announce and promote a communion with Christians and Jews, is pleasantly unique in a monotheistic text.

Nevertheless, whether Islam as a whole can be commended for this depends completely on whether such a sentiment is put into practice.

It isn’t.

Despite the theological overlaps claimed by their clerical class, Muslims have proven themselves anything but friendly to the Biblical faiths it arose originally to supplant.

Consider the following summary of the situation in Iraq by the Christian charity ‘Open Doors’ –

“In the 1990s, Iraq was home to 1.2 million Christians. Now, just 300,000 Christians remain. Since the US-led invasion of Iraq, anti-Western (and by association anti-Christian) sentiments have grown, and Islamic extremism has been strengthened…There are few Christians lefts in IS-controlled parts of Iraq, if any. IS has forbidden public gatherings that are not organised by them, and churches have been demolished or turned into jails, stables and Islamic centres. The punishment for breaking the strict laws enforced by IS range from cutting off hands to public executions.”

Thousands of Christians have been executed in the Middle East and North Africa since 9/11. In Pakistan, the penalty for converting to Christianity remains lethal. The ancient Christian community of Egypt, despite their large numbers, are effectively 2nd class citizens and are exposed to attack or bullying by the nation’s Islamic majority. During the Islamic conquests of the Middle East, the number of Christians executed can only be estimated. It is not fanciful to propose the toll numbers somewhere in the hundreds of thousands.

It is always important to ensure that myths, especially political myths, do not go unchallenged. By that principle, the myth of a brotherhood between Islam and Christianity is too dangerous to ignore.

D, LDN.

Repression, “American Bitches” and Muslims Raping Horses.

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Someone posted a song on my Facebook timeline the other day. It’s not by a band I know anything about, and far from the style of music I usually enjoy. Enquiring why it had been posted, my friend told me to listen to the lyrics.

The song “American Bitches” is by the Bloodhound Gang, a self-consciously juvenile pop-punk outfit from Pennsylvania, US. The target of the song’s lyrics is said to be Islamic terrorists, with the song’s core insinuation being that such people are violent largely out of sexual frustration, rather than the declared motivations of religious belief.

This is not the first time this theory has been advanced (although it might conceivably be the first time it has been put forward acoustically), and it’s a theory I have always more or less agreed with. That being said, it will no harm to re-state why this is.

No prohibition of sexual feeling is possible without damage to the male psyche. Whatever tradition first advocated it, hostility to sex is an anti-natural quirk that should never have been countenanced and which, when enforced, has consequences even more dire than the hysteria of famine and economic breakdown.

The inner-hothouse created by Islamic prohibitions on sexual feeling (prohibitions so strict that even observing female beauty is considered sinful) deform the inner life of a developing male in ways so gruesome we’d rather not imagine them. But if it is accepted that Catholic Priests have statistically higher rates of paedophilia due to their chosen regime of chastity, one must surely extend the same style of analysis to the consideration of Muslim misbehaviour.

Let’s be in no doubt as to the extreme nature of these deformities. In Britain, the number of young girls sexually interfered with by Muslims is as yet unknown, but could well ascend into sextuple figures. In Greece, Muslim asylum seekers have wasted no time establishing a reputation for being lewd and aggressive towards native girls. In Australia, a gang of Lebanese Muslims were fined for openly masturbating in front of a woman on the Subway. And last but not least, in Italy, a young Moroccan immigrant was convicted of anally raping a horse.

These are the bestial extremes of human potential. We may all have such wickedness latent within us, but those who have been kept in a hormonal prison for their developmental years are uniformly like this when faced with the colourful temptations of the modern world. They are raised for life in a monastery and let loose, as it were, into a brothel.

Of course, this might sound like the author is ‘tarring all with the same brush’ here. That is a reasonable accusation and I’m really quite unrepentant about it. It frankly sickens me to think that at this very moment, in some ragged, post-industrial town in the North, a young girl might be talking to Muslims outside a Pakistani kebab shop, and that from there, she may fall into a life of pre-Victorian sexual slavery.

Psychosexual illness is inherent in the Islamic condition and plays a larger part in violent extremism that we might ordinarily concede. Consequently, of all the people who will lose out by an Islamisation of Europe, young women stand to lose the most.

D, LDN.

Credit Where It’s Due.

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This was never meant to be a purely negative blog. I am not immune to enthusiasm and the rose-tinted view of the world. That is why I must praise the astonishing success of our Chancellor George Osborne, with whose leadership and talent, we have risen from a state of socialist bankruptcy to become one of the strongest economies in the world.

If you remember, when the Conservative-led coalition took office, cynicism filled the air like petrol fumes. And in some cases, that cynicism has been rewarded. Our defence budget has shrunk to disgracefully low levels for example. No real effort has been expended to solve the Muslim issue in our society, or to stem the flood of immigration that so weakens our solidarity and emboldens our enemies.

But the economy is a clear odd man out. More jobs have been created Britain over the past 5 years than in any other advanced economy. As reported in the budget speech on Tuesday, that number is 7 times higher than that of socialist France (for greater comparative illustration, Osborne added that more have been created in the county of Yorkshire than in our wayfaring maritime neighbour as a whole).

I am a patriot. I want Britain to succeed, to follow the American way and shun the socialist poisons of the continent. For those reasons, I must be honest and admit that Osborne has steered the ship in the right direction, even as the fifth column rotting the wood-beams of our living quarters remains untouched.

D, LDN.

Political Correctness, Jeremy Clarkson and the BBC.

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So, as even the cave-dwelling Taliban must now be aware, Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson has been suspended (perhaps permanently) from the BBC following a row in which he is alleged to have thrown a punch at a producer.

Since the news of this broke, a storm has consumed the British media in a way that must bewilder outside observers. Despite the official explanation, many have sought to connect the dispute to Clarkson’s long-standing hostility to political correctness, the insinuation being that the Left-wing BBC has forced Clarkson out for his provocative sense of humour and ‘fringe’ opinions.

I don’t personally buy that. If Clarkson’s views were so intolerable to the BBC executive, they would have discarded him long before now. It seems more likely to me that, in this isolated case, the Beeb is telling the truth. You can’t throw punches in the workplace and survive. In any other field of work, the result would be the same.

Nevertheless, the underlying issue that has dominated public discourse in the last week – the issue of political correctness – is worth talking about whatever the provocation. It is far from hyperbolic to say that in Europe’s post-war history, there has been no concept more damaging.

What exactly is political correctness? According to its defenders like English comedian Stewart Lee, it is nothing more sinister than an ‘institutional standard of politeness’. According to its critics meanwhile, it is the spear-head of cultural Marxism, a covert method of Communist expansion advocated by the Frankfurt School.

Who is correct?

The latter explanation has gained a lot of (tarnished) popular support ever since Anders Breivik promoted the idea in 2011. In his manifesto, the killer quoted Pat Buchanan as saying ‘Cultural Marxism is Political Correctness. Political Correctness is Cultural Marxism’. Nevertheless, the truth – as they say – has no agenda, and so we’d be wrong to discard this because of Breivik’s personal stupidity.

And more than anything, we shouldn’t discard it as it seems to be the correct explanation. Allegations about the Frankfurt school aside, political correctness is clearly a political project of the Left, and only of the Left. It benefits no-one else. It serves no apolitical function.

As a quote attributed to the great writer Doris Lessing has it: “Political correctness is the natural continuum from the party line. What we are seeing once again is a self-appointed group of vigilantes imposing their views on others. It is a heritage of communism, but they don’t seem to see this.”

Such a quote, if its attribution is authentic, is hard to knock down. Lessing was no reactionary, and one does not need to be reactionary to spot the absurdity of thought-control. It is believably posited that George Orwell, having survived miraculously into the present day, would have some unkind things to say about this erosion of the right to private autonomy.

Of course, politeness, the cloak with which PC has long sought to disguise itself, is a positively essential virtue. You should never be rude or unkind without reason, and there are very few reasons one can ever find. Politeness is distinct from PC in that it is voluntary. It is a virtue we may embrace or discard, at our own risk.

Should you be free to call a black man a nigger? Of course you should. But as a corollary, when that black man beats you to a bloody pulp, you will have no claim to public sympathy. Some things are self-regulating.

D, LDN.

Jihad vs. McWorld.

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It’s been a full ten years since the publication, originally to much derision and apathy, of American political scientist Benjamin Barber’s book ‘Jihad Vs. McWorld: Terrorism’s Challenge to Democracy’.

Seen by some as a dumbed-down popularisation of Samuel Huntingdon’s ‘Clash of Civilisations’ thesis, this slim volume (and especially its title) has always seemed to me a more accurate framing of the same struggle.

The struggle with/against Islam is a clash of civilisations (in that Islam is a civilisation and that there is a ‘clash’ involved) but not entirely in the way Huntingdon predicted. The war is not Islam pitched against the West specifically, but Islam versus the modern age and all who aspire to dwell in it. Muslims are as hostile to Kenyans and Japanese as they are to Brits and Americans. The Jihadi elite correctly identify the modern ideal of globalisation as a lethal threat to the integrity of Islamic culture. This is not then a clash between ‘East and West’, but a battle between progress and the 6th century, between Starbucks and the Mosque, the Lexus and the Olive Tree (to quote the title of an excellent book by Thomas Friedman).

Islamism derives it energy from the same place as neo-Nazism. Those who pine for ancient castles, Germanic runes and maidens milking cows are one and the same with those who pine for the tent-life of ancient Arabia. Though officially opposed to one another, Islamists and Nazis alike share a burning disgust at the golden arches of McDonalds, at the white tick of Nike sportswear, at the homogenisation of the global high street and of national cultures. Both long for a misty utopian past; an older, simpler way of living that was cruelly interrupted by industry, but that is recoverable if only the capitalists (Jews) can be brought down from their dominant position.

This is what Barber meant by ‘Jihad’ – the poisonous ideas that appeal to those ill-equipped to compete in a meritocratic world. This is broader and more interesting than the crude differences Huntingdon presented us with. As Barber’s definition allows us to see, we have our own Jihadis in the West, and not all of them are Islamic.

The modern world needs to be defended from all its enemies, whatever they look like and whatever language they speak. We would be fools to presume, like Huntingdon, that the battle lines will fall neatly on the borders of cultures and languages.

D, LDN.

Between Paradise and Hell: The Precarious Happiness of the Christian Lebanese.

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This past week, various friends of mine have sent me the link to a viral video from MEMRI TV. It features a sultry Lebanese TV anchor cutting the microphone of a London-based ‘Imam’ after he arrogantly seeks to insert his sexual-religious authority into the conversation.

I’m not as impressed by this as others seem to be. That is because I have never truly considered Lebanon a part of the barbaric construct we call the ‘Islamic World’. Indeed, after the State of Israel, Lebanon seems to me the most civilised and modern country in the greater Middle East.

While it’s true that Muslims now make up a slight majority in the country, the civilising effects of Lebanon’s Christian elite extend deeply into its social and educational fabric. As a consequence, Lebanese Muslims tend to be more ‘secular’ than Syrians or Jordanians, and arguably for reasons directly attributable to Lebanon’s cultural diversity (one of the very time that phrase can be used positively).

If you look through an album of photographs taken in modern Beirut, you might find it difficult to distinguish the streets and piazzas from parts of Portugal, Spain or southern Italy. Despite the ancient mosques and grungy madrassas, one will also notice billboard advertisements for premium wines and Heineken Lager, bare-armed women in tight jeans and sunglasses, as well as gaudy bars and upmarket pubs catering to American and English tourists respectively.

The Lebanese Christians are proudly aware of this geo-cultural strangeness and view any comparison with other Arab states like Saudi Arabia or Jordan as wholly derogatory. Biology plays a role in this. Though all Arabs are a mixture of ancient ancestries, the Lebanese are known to be especially diverse. Genetic investigation of the Christian community has revealed a mixture of Greek, Arab and Western European genetic markers, the last being a hangover from the time when Lebanon functioned as a base for the Crusaders, some of whom remained, intermarried and got lost in the biological stew.

Though we in the West might look down on sectarian attitudes, it is surely easier to sympathise in this case. Imagine for a moment that we in England belonged to a modern, affluent and liberal(ish) country neighboured to the North and East by lands of hellish confusion. We would all eventually come to rely on sheer hostility to prevent the damaging integration of outside elements, especially if defensive alliances seem unavailable.

Only a few miles from the wine bars of Lebanon, the sub-humans of ISIS cut the heads off people accused of summoning demons or practicing witchcraft. Just a short drive from a Beirut Miss Universe pageant is a tent-city where women cannot even leave their homes.

It is hard to think of a more terrifying fragility or a more perfect misery than that of the Christian Lebanese.

D, LDN.

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