The left must speak uncomfortable truths about migration and sexual violence


I have mostly spent January eye-rolling so hard I’ve practically detached my retinas. It began when news first crept out from Cologne after New Year’s Eve, as across the media and the internet vast swathes  of anti-immigrant right-wingers and racists who had never in their lives uttered a word of concern or complaint about sexual violence suddenly  reinvented themselves as the bestest feminists in town, for whom nothing was more important than ensuring that never again would an innocent (ie white) woman be mauled by a disgusting, patriarchal (ie brown) man.

Well, racists gonna racist. But I was eye-rolling too at my peers on the broad left, the manner in which they continue to squirm and tiptoe around the extraordinary, horrific accounts from Cologne. I thought this had peaked last week with the remarks of Jess Phillips MP on Question Time that equated those events with any Saturday night on Birmingham’s Broad Street. The criticism she has since received has mostly focussed on outraged residents, coppers and civic leaders from the city saying “how dare you malign our city?” while simultaneously denying, downplaying or disbelieving women’s experiences of the extent of sexual harassment and assault on a typical British night out. I saw it the other way around. I was stunned that Phillips could so easily deny or downplay the statements from nearly seven hundred women that they had been sexually assaulted and/or robbed within a few city blocks in just a couple of hours, and so blithely dismiss the unique severity of that. I’m sure Phillips did not intend to suggest Cologne was really no big deal, but that was the precise effect of her words.

But the final straw for me, the prompt for this blogpost, came when checking the papers this morning, only to see the Guardian giving front and centre prominence to the news that a 13-year-old girl in Berlin had fabricated a claim that she had been gang -raped by migrants. This is the same Guardian which covers sightings of the Loch Ness Monster and Bigfoot with greater regularity than it covers false rape allegations. Meanwhile in a perfect, perverse mirror of the cynicism of the racist right, I saw the link being shared on Twitter by feminists and left-wingers who have, I am pretty sure, never mentioned false rape allegations in their life before, suddenly discovering that gosh, yes, perhaps people might indeed sometimes lie about such a thing.

Enough.

There is a humanitarian catastrophe playing out all around us, right now. It is primarily (though not exclusively) spilling out of the Syrian civil war, and crystallizing as human tragedies washed up on the beaches of Italy and Greece, and in the squalor of refugee camps and holding centres from Mesopotamia to Scandinavia. I wholeheartedly and passionately believe we are beholden as a planet, a global community, to offer sanctuary, solidarity and security to those fleeing terror and misery. I’m not saying that doing so is politically, financially or practically simple, it may not even be entirely possible, but we can certainly do more than we are doing. To deliver on that human obligation, we first have to win a political and ideological argument against those who, by and large, oppose immigration even at the best of times. The faces and specifics may change, but it is essentially the same argument that had to be won against Norman Tebbit in the 80s, Enoch Powell in the 60s, the Daily Mail and Mosley in the 1930s

There is no escaping that my side of this argument (it’s simplistic and largely inaccurate, but I’ll call it the left) have taken an absolute drubbing over the past month. People are rightly shocked and terrified by what happened in Cologne, people are rightly shocked by the failure of the left to offer any kind of meaningful response or reaction. The Daily Mail Right have basically been pushing at an open door. As Jess Phillips demonstrated better than anyone, it’s not even that we’ve lost the argument, we have literally offered none and the reason for that is because we, the left, have been terrified of telling people the truth.

The truth is this: Asylum-seekers, refugees, emigrants and immigrants are people, human beings in a full spectrum of behaviours and qualities. Among every million migrants you will find hundreds of thousands of actual and potential doctors, engineers, nurses, teachers and plumbers. You will find a handful of future Olympic champions and Nobel prize winners.  You will find a small minority of hardened criminals, psychopaths, murderers, terrorists and rapists and a large rump of souls who are basically decent but capable of acting like utter dickheads from time to time. You know, almost like they are human beings?

In Cologne on New Year’s Eve, a mob of young thugs went on a rampage of robbery and misogynistic sexual violence. They are not the first gang of droogs to behave like that and won’t be the last, but there is no escaping the truth that the manner in which events unfolded were culturally specific. This was a phenomenon that had not been seen in Europe before, at least not on that scale, but has certainly occurred in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa. Does this mean that police and policy makers have to be alert to and ready to contain an unfamiliar form of public order threat? Yes, perhaps. Does this mean there are particular problems with misogynistic behaviours, attitudes and cultures among North African or Muslim men? Maybe. Does this mean that we should turn our back on the urgent needs of millions because of the crimes of the few? Absolutely not.

The first recourse of the racist fearmonger has always been to point to one atypical incident, a riot, a murder, a rape, and hold it to be typical, to be both representative of an entire population and the responsibility of that entire population. The left cannot win by pretending there are no criminals, no thugs, no rapists, no damaged people among the shifting sands of humanity. We can win by unequivocally condemning inappropriate and criminal behaviour while simultaneously and correctly insisting that we will not allow ourselves to judge the many by the sins of the few. We will not allow ourselves to be distracted and diverted from our humanitarian obligations by fear, because history shows us where that leads. We will not allow ourselves to turn our backs on those in desperate need, because we are smarter than that and we are better than that.  That is the only way the argument can be won.

Comments

  1. says

    We can win by unequivocally condemning inappropriate and criminal behaviour while simultaneously and correctly insisting that we will not allow ourselves to judge the many by the sins of the few. We will not allow ourselves to be distracted and diverted from our humanitarian obligations by fear, because history shows us where that leads. We will not allow ourselves to turn our backs on those in desperate need, because we are smarter than that and we are better than that. That is the only way the argument can be won.

    This deserves to be repeated far and wide to as many people as possible, IMO. I think at least some of its sentiments might be shared by Ali Rizvi, a guy who comes from a background not too dissimilar from my own, in his essay “The New Center.” Dunno if you’ve seen it yet, but perhaps you and other folks here might like it 😀

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ali-a-rizvi/the-new-center-between-th_b_8778908.html

  2. sonofrojblake says

    we will not allow ourselves to judge the many by the sins of the few

    But:

    Does this mean that police and policy makers have to be alert to and ready to contain an unfamiliar form of public order threat? Yes, perhaps.

    Perhaps? Bit disingenuous. So… there exists an unfamiliar threat specific to and originating identifiably from a specific community. You acknowledge this, albeit with the weasel word “perhaps”. But yet we mustn’t judge the many by the actions of a few… how then to contain this threat, or address it in any way, if we can’t acknowledge its origin?

    Does this mean there are particular problems with misogynistic behaviours, attitudes and cultures among North African or Muslim men? Maybe.

    Again with the weasel words, even as you bemoan this behaviour from others.

    As for the last sentence: the issue at stake is not a mere argument, not some academic morsel to be turned over and examined for amusement. The issue at stake is the safety of people (not just women, but disproportionately women) on our streets, and the sudden, unwanted injection of a significant threat to that safety in the form of a sufficiently large group of incomers who reject the culture and standards of the countries to which they have chosen to come.

    You rightly state the reason we’ve lost the argument is that we haven’t bothered to engage in it.

  3. Ally Fogg says

    So… there exists an unfamiliar threat specific to and originating identifiably from a specific community. You acknowledge this, albeit with the weasel word “perhaps”. But yet we mustn’t judge the many by the actions of a few… how then to contain this threat, or address it in any way, if we can’t acknowledge its origin?

    Who said we can’t acknowledge its origin? What I was basically suggesting there is that police should be trained and prepared to deal with that phenomena, just as they are trained & prepared to deal with football hooliganism or politically motivated rioting or whatever. I’m not sure what you mean by ‘acknowledging its origins’ but if you mean that involves policing being conscious that young North African men might be particularly likely to be involved, I don’t have a problem with that.

    The issue at stake is the safety of people (not just women, but disproportionately women) on our streets, and the sudden, unwanted injection of a significant threat to that safety in the form of a sufficiently large group of incomers who reject the culture and standards of the countries to which they have chosen to come.

    This is precisely the ignorant, racist shit we have to confront head-on and reject. First of all you are wrongly holding all migrants responsible for the actions of a tiny minority (whether you are referring to a specific sub-population or not I don’t know) and secondly you are constructing an ignorant and largely mythical paradigm about “incomers who reject the culture and standards” etc.

    Bring me that argument and I will challenge it, challenge you to provide evidence and when you cannot and do not, you shall lose that argument.

    That is exactly my point.

  4. sonofrojblake says

    Who said we can’t acknowledge its origin?

    You, with your “perhaps” and your “maybe”.

    you are wrongly holding all migrants responsible for the actions of a tiny minority

    Nope. I’m saying that the “tiny minority” is now, and I quote myself directly, “a sufficiently large group” as to represent a more serious threat than before. It’s pretty simple. A “tiny minority” of a manageable number is acceptable. A “tiny minority” of an uncontrolled, much much larger number is – duh – a much bigger number, and you end up with Cologne.

  5. sonofrojblake says

    Again with the straw man. Quite apart from the fact that I never suggested any such thing, even if I advocated such a position (I don’t) then it is demonstrably already too late, at least for Germany and likely for many other countries (Greece, Turkey and Italy also spring to mind as on the frontline of the refugee issue).

    Leaving that “much larger number” to suffer and die is, apart from any other possibly objection, obviously pointless. That ramshackle raft has already sailed, the horse has already bolted and you’re flapping about saying how rephrehensible it would be to suggest shutting the stable door.

    The threat is here, in Europe, today, already. The only question that makes any sense is how to police it, when the police and mainstream media admitted they were reluctant to even allow it to be reported, much less properly tackled.

  6. Mookie says

    Meanwhile in a perfect, perverse mirror of the cynicism of the racist right, I saw the link being shared on Twitter by feminists and left-wingers who have, I am pretty sure, never mentioned false rape allegations in their life before, suddenly discovering that gosh, yes, perhaps people might indeed sometimes lie about such a thing.

    Are you not familiar with modern colonial and US histories? Documented cases abound of white women and girls being pressured to accuse or of their own volition accusing men of color of sexual assault and rape when politically convenient or to justify the persecution and/or murder of individual men.

  7. Guardian Reader says

    Really appreciated this post, but I’m confused about the “front and centre prominence” link to the Guardian. I can’t see it was included at all in the print edition today, and it’s not currently showing up on the main page of the website. Have I missed it in the print edition?

    FYI the article says the girl is 13, not 15.

  8. Ally Fogg says

    sonofroj [6] – I’m all in favour of acknowledging the problems that do exist and managing them as appropriate, through policing and whatever else is necessary. I don’t agree with ‘managing’ such problems by wrongly portraying the situation as an army of rapists marauding across Europe raping our women.

    Mookie [7] I’m very aware of it. Not sure if that awareness is shared by those who argue that false rape accusations are so rare as to be insignificant.

    GuardianReader [8] As of about 8.15am the story was in the centre of the World news section on the front of the website, but things move around there constantly.

  9. Penny L says

    I wholeheartedly and passionately believe we are beholden as a planet, a global community, to offer sanctuary, solidarity and security to those fleeing terror and misery.

    Ok, but why Europe? Is Germany specifically beholden to accept these asylum seekers? And if so, why? Can a refugee simply pick a destination and as a result that country is obliged to offer sanctuary?

    And does ones opposition to, for example, accepting 800,000 refugees into a country like Germany automatically make one a racist? The first recourse of the leftist fearmonger has always been to point to racism and hold it to be typical, to be both representative of an entire population and the responsibility of that entire population.

    Does this mean there are particular problems with misogynistic behaviours, attitudes and cultures among North African or Muslim men?

    The answer to this is not maybe, it is yes. These refugees were born and raised in a different culture and a different religion, the combination of which explicitly or implicitly rejects most Western norms and values.

    For example, Muslim religious leaders explicitly reject the equality of women. Saudi Arabia, the home of the two holiest shrines in all of Islam and a place where no law will be passed that contradicts Islamic law, does not guarantee gender equality (http://www.genderindex.org/country/saudi-arabia). I’ve see it first hand. I have several years experience living in the region. A friend of mine, living in America, divorced her husband and was granted custody of their son. Her ex-husband, along with his uncle, attempted to kill her and kidnap their child. Honor killings, of the type he attempted, are prevalent in many areas of the Muslim world.

    While you are correct that the left must speak uncomfortable truths about migration and sexual violence, it must also speak uncomfortable truths about the Muslim religion. We need to stop seeing this issue exclusively through the lens of race. Islam is not a race.

  10. Carnation says

    Here’s my tuppence worth.

    When I read about the attacks, I felt real fear and anguish for Europe – literal and figurative Europe.

    The bottom line is that there are around one thousand males of non-European origin who behaved in a criminal and anti-social manner. A manner that demands an extremely robust investigation and judicial process. Simultaneously, equally robust measures need to be taken to ensure that police action isn’t vindictive, divisive and/or racist And, more broadly speaking, action need to be taken to prevent an underclass developing in Germany and elsewhere.

    Frankly, I think that this has more to do with mob mentality, alcohol and cultural norms than it does with any interpretation of Islam.

    These are the wise words of a “black man of African descent” living in Germany:

    “Let’s just keep sticking up for the women. As far as being a black man of African descent goes, the racists in Germany and elsewhere hate us anyway.”

    http://www.newstatesman.com/world/europe/2016/01/how-deal-new-years-eve-sexual-assaults-cologne-and-hamburg

  11. That Guy says

    Hi Ally, I caught the start of that QT, but switched off before the “””””””fun””””””””” parts. As telly goes, It is not good for my blood pressure.

    The whole affair reminds me of Maryam Namazie’s stance on the Charlie Hebdo attacks.
    There was a lot of “murder of wrong, BUT…”

    That “but” is the same dehumanising, victim-blaming “but” that buzzes around discussions of Cologne, like flies to shit.

    Throwing women, or journalists or male DV victims under the bus because the left fears that their experiences will be used to undermine the politics of the left is a deeply awful way to treat our fellow human beings- and I am absolutely fucking appalled every time I see “smart” people doing it.

    tl:dr +1 point doubleyes

  12. Ally Fogg says

    Ok, but why Europe? Is Germany specifically beholden to accept these asylum seekers? And if so, why? Can a refugee simply pick a destination and as a result that country is obliged to offer sanctuary?

    Have you any idea how many refugees and asylum seekers there are across Africa? Across Asia? Something like 85% of the world’s refugees are hosted in the developing world.

    There are massive political issues about migrants and / or refugees in Australia, USA, Canada.

    As I said in the piece this is a global issue requiring global co-operation and global solutions.

    And does ones opposition to, for example, accepting 800,000 refugees into a country like Germany automatically make one a racist?

  13. That Guy says

    to clarify- Maryam Namazie’s name was dropped in reference to her work as an ex-muslim against the islamist right who are frequently buttressed by the well-meaning western left for very similar reasons given above.

  14. brucegee1962 says

    When ISIS sets off a bomb somewhere, the cause and effect of it are very clear. But when the bomb consists of a meme, the effects of it are less obvious.

    The meme-bomb that went off in Cologne was “All western women [or in Egypt, liberal women] are sluts and whores who have no sense of personal boundaries and exist in a perpetual state of lust.” These young men have probably been exposed to this constantly reiterated meme since they were very young. Now they’re in the west, coming from a culture that has indoctrinated many of them to believe they’re in the land of easily-available sex, and angry and confused that this doesn’t seem to be the case.

    The answer to bad memes isn’t better policing, more fences, or deportations (to where?) — at least, not in the long term (though in the short term the first one will be needed, no doubt). In the long term, the way to fight bad memes is with better memes. Mass education needs to take place, pronto — starting with a course called “Welcome to the West. Everything you have ever been told about this place has been a lie.” After that we can work on advanced concepts like “consent.”

  15. StillGjenganger says

    You’re doing better than most, Ally (no surprise there), but you are still arguing backwards. As it comes across, your premise is that

    We will not allow ourselves to be distracted and diverted from our humanitarian obligations […] We will not allow ourselves to turn our backs on those in desperate need

    . In short it does not matter to you how many of these people there are, what they do, or what taking them in will do to society, we must take them in anyway. After that, your insistence that ‘asylum seekers are people’, with just the normal small minority of criminals, and that all this can and should be treated as a simple policing problem, comes across as minimising. Much like the comparison to Birmingham.

    If you really want to have a fair argument, you need to face up to an open-minded evaluation of what taking in this group of people may have for consequences. The risks would include a fair number of Cologne-like episodes, big problems with assimilating or accommodating a large group with very different ideas of how society should be and no particular desire to change into the kind of person that is adapted to what we already have, severe friction as an already stressed system has to find resources and may have to take them from other groups, and a rush for the borders as half the population of North Africa realises that they could have a much better life inside the EU. It may be that only a small minority of refugees/immigrants will be causing any of these problems, but as long as we cannot filter out the bad apples that makes no difference. People come – problems follow..

    As opposed to all this there is the fact that we cannot simply let all these people die. You could still win the argument that we need to do a lot of things that we do not really like. But acknowledging the actual facts would make the argument clearer. And it would allow a necessarily hard-headed discussion on how we can minimise the costs to us. How can we control who and how many come? How can we incentivise people to collaborate, how can we get rid of those we would rather do without, how much are we willing to change society to make sure they all feel equally at home here? What are we willing to do to enforce our goals – because turning any of these people away from their chosen destination will require some quite ruthless action? And turning away none means unlimited immigration. This will not be a nice discussion, agreed, but throwing the borders open and giving the full supoport of the welfare system to anybody who comes does not sound like a realistic option. And as long as the left does not explicitly face up to that, their arguments – and their credibility – will suffer.

  16. Ally Fogg says

    If you really want to have a fair argument, you need to face up to an open-minded evaluation of what taking in this group of people may have for consequences. The risks would include a fair number of Cologne-like episodes, big problems with assimilating or accommodating a large group with very different ideas of how society should be and no particular desire to change into the kind of person that is adapted to what we already have, severe friction as an already stressed system has to find resources and may have to take them from other groups, and a rush for the borders as half the population of North Africa realises that they could have a much better life inside the EU. It may be that only a small minority of refugees/immigrants will be causing any of these problems, but as long as we cannot filter out the bad apples that makes no difference. People come – problems follow.

    Actually no, I have no problem with the type of risk analysis (or more accurately, perhaps, consequence analysis). I am perfectly confident that if done fairly and properly it would show what all such analyses tend to show, which is that migrant populations – and especially refugee populations – when considered as a whole bring wealth creation, lower crime rates than settled populations and comparatively few problems with cultural integration.

    What I will not accept are policy decisions that are driven by negative stereotyping, racist assumptions, bigotry, incitement to hatred and everything else we have been seeing over recent months and particularly the past few weeks.

  17. StillGjenganger says

    @Ally 17
    That would be interesting to see. My suspicion is that in what has been done so far both sides, left and right, have let their preferred conclusion bias their data. The fact that so many people see a problem with immigration, and that the left so uniformly claims that immigration is an unmixed blesing and dismisses these concerns as driven by racism, bigotry, etc. suggests to me that the left (like, until recently, the Swedish government) is simply unwilling to accept anything that speaks against their favourite policy. As does the widespread recourse to minimising and hiding of unpleasant facts. A factual consequence analysis would aye be welcome, but in order to convince anybody it would first have to show that they were willing to address all problems and concerns.

    While we are at it, my guess is that if visas could be had for the asking, the number of immigrants to Europe would in short over be over 10 000 000 (ten million). What is your estimate? And, whether you agree or not, do you think that also immigration on this kind of scale would bring wealth creation and compratively few problems with cultural integration?

  18. KirbmarcNew says

    The author of this article isn’t completely wrong, but IMHO he misses the point about what the left has failed to do, and what it should do.

    Yes, racists will use the Cologne incident to attack all migrants. Yes, the many cannot be judged by the sins of the few.

    However the Cologne incident isn’t an isolated case. It’s part of a continuum: in Rotherham, in Goteborg, and in many others cases young Muslims have treated Western women like garbage, or assaulted LGBT people while the left closed its eyes and claimed that “Islam (ALL Islam) is a religion of peace”.

    The assault of the consequnce of a culture (Islamic conservatism, mostly of Wahabi/Salafi orgin) that encourages misogyny and sexual assaults by calling women who don’t cover up according to the Quran “whores” and by saying that “infidels” do not, and should not, have any meaningful rights.

    Events like what happened in Cologne should suggest that we have to integrate Muslims better, that we need to counter the misogynistic narrative in Islam.

    However what the left has (often, although thankfully not always) done is deny that such a misogynistic narrative exists, or that it is any worse than “normal white Patriarchal behavior”.

    The left, in its struggle to always criticize “the West” and “imperialistic capitalism”, hasn’t done enough to promote the liberation of Muslim women, to condemn Islamic conservatism, to support ex Muslims, Muslim women and LGBT Muslims by shutting down the conservative and illliberal Sharia councils (often led by Wahab/Salafi preachers paid by the Gulf States), etc.

    Instead we’ve heard the left repeat ad nauseam that there is no problem with Islam, that it’s just bigoted people who think that Islam needs to change and adapt to Western values, that Islam is a religion of peace, etc.

    Islam isn’t a monolith. Some Islamic sects are more conservative and illiberal than others. However the heavy numbers of Wahabi/Salafi preachers in the Western world (paid with petrodollars, while the West refused to acknowledge and properly deal with the crimes of the barbaric Saudi regime) have blocked or slowed down the process of reform internal to Islam.

    I think that Islam at large MIGHT eventually change and adapt to democracy, secularism and liberalism, but it will take a lot of time and effort from both Muslims and non-Muslims to undo the damage of the Wahabi/Salafi preachings and of the defense of Islam conservatism in general.

    What the left has to do is stop supporting Islamists and Muslim apologists like Reza Aslan, who say that there is nothing wrong with Islam and that any Western criticism of Islam is just bigotry and “Islamophobia”, and start supporting liberal, democratic Muslims like Maajid Nawaz, who instead has been called a “native infomrannt” and a “porch monkey” by many in the regressive left (CJ Werleman, Glenn Greenwald, Nathan Lean and others) or ex-Muslims like Maryam Namazie, who instead has been prevented from speaking at Goldsmith University (with the Goldsmith LGBT and Feminist society approving the ban) because her words would have offended the delicate feelings of the Goldsmith Islamic Society.

    Leftist atheists should be the ones who point out the huge flaws in Islamic culture, who ask for an end of Sharia courts (which go against secularism and liberalism: there can’t be religious tribunals in a secular society), who should question where the funds for Islamists come from (usually Saudi Arabia or other Gulf States), who educate Muslim women and Muslim LGBT people about their rights, who suppot ex-Muslims, who allow tribunals to know whether a Muslim who claims to be underage is really underage (instead of saying that asking for age verification is racist, like it has happened in Sweden), etc.

    Instead we get a lot of deafening silence about those issues (because “Muslims are oppressed, and to criticize them is to fan the flames of hatred”) or meaningless slogan slike “the Western Patriarchy is just as bad”.

    We get countless hours devoted by feminists to T-shirt, manspreading, the lack of Rey toys, video games, etc., generic condemnations of Islamist crimes in Muslim-majority countries and little to no mention of the many problems within Muslim communities in the West.

    This is why the left and the moderate right are losing and the far right is winning (which is something that seriously disturbs). People buy into racist myths because the police uses water cannons on Pedgida protesters but not on the crowds of immigrant harassers on New Year’s Eve (why didn’t they use those water cannons to disperd the crowds of harassers, by the way?), because the police looked away while the Rotherham child rapes and the Goteborg sexual assaults happened, and because the Guardian says that the Muslims are so disenfranchised that they’re inspired by their oppression (not by Salafi or Wahabi preachings, never by Salafi or Wahabi preachings) to rape rich Western women who have I-pads.

    Furthermore, when Muslims in the West suffer from some social problems it’s because a)they’re poorer than the average population and socially isolated and b) individual racists and racist groups target them.

    Point b) is best dealt with by punishing those racists. I’m all for giving harsh sentences to individuals or groups who murder, attack, beat up, harass or incite to murder or beat up Muslims. Anyone who murders others in cold blood for reasonds of racial hatred needs to get a life sentence. Anyone who attacks and beats up others for reasons of racial hatred needs to be punished with a very stiff sentence. And I’m OK with people being fired or sentenced to prison for inciting others to beat up, harass or murder Muslims. That is hate speech, racism, white supremacy, etc. and is just as barbaric as Islamist supremacy.

    Point a) is best dealt with by integrating Muslims within liberal secular societies. Which means teaching them the language and the laws of the place where they live, teaching Muslim women and LGBT Muslims their rights, protecting those rights, protecting the rights of ex-Muslims, criticising Islam supremacy, creating opportunities and jobs, watching out for Wahabi/Salafi infiltrations and keeping an eye on their sources of income, surveilling schools and stopping the attempts of the Islamists to use them to spread their message, and giving anyone the opportunity to criticize, mock and satirize Islam without coddling the “offended feelings” of the Islamists nad conservative Muslims.

    However this requires the left to abandon identity politics and no always judge issues not through the lenses of ideology. It requires the left to stop thinking that the only and worst social evils are “white cis male hetero patriarchy” nd “capitalism”.

    To better intregrate Muslims and get people on the side of rationality, not racism, the leftists must be willing to call out and dissociate from Islamists who preach ideas that go against secular liberalism and democracy. Western politicians must no longer see immigrants just as sources of cheap labor or votes but as people with rights AND with responsibilities. The West also needs to promote real integration iwthin Western society, not the self-segregation of Muslim ghettoes and banlieues.

    It’s not enough to condemn the Cologne attacks (but doing it loudly, clearly and with no “but…” or “the west is just as bad” arguments would have been a nice start).

    The integration of immigrants and especially of Muslim immigrants is a complex problem, which takes a lot of time and effort. Quick slogans and moral equivalences to the “Western patriarchy” are useless to this end.

    Since the intregration of Muslims is such an important, long, complex and time-consuming problem maybe (just maybe) some time could be taken from the discussion of some admittedly less important issues like shirts, toys, video games and polite requests for coffee in elevators and devoted to criticism of Islamism instead.

    This is what Dawkins is saying with his tweets these days. This is what he already said with “Dear Muslima”. But the regressive left refuses to listen, and prefers to disinvite him, call him a racist and a white supremacist and call people who agree with him “Dawk-bros”.

  19. KirbmarcNew says

    Errata corrige:

    (why didn’t they use those water cannons to disperd the crowds of harassers, by the way?)

    should read

    ((why didn’t they use those water cannons to break up the crowds of harassers, by the way?).

  20. Aj says

    I wholeheartedly and passionately believe we are beholden as a planet, a global community, to offer sanctuary, solidarity and security to those fleeing terror and misery.

    What about those that are in no danger, but see an opportunity to improve their lives?

    Ultimately, the problem is population. Welfare states simply cannot cope with the scale of the problem. Open boarders and the welfare state are incompatible. A few million people today is already causing massive political turmoil. Look at the population projections. For Africa alone, an extra 4 billion people by the end of the century. That means the number of people attempting to move into Europe will grow to hundreds of million. That will mean war and genocide if nothing changes. We have to work out how to deal with that well before the problem becomes unmanageable.

  21. Marduk says

    “But the final straw for me…”

    I noticed exactly that as well, I was just about to post exactly the same thing on the open thread.

    Its hard to deny the truth of this comic… its the first 10 days of the year in The Guardian.
    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CYE4ga3VAAAvsMK.png:orig

    What frightens me more is the censorship, self- and state. This is really scary stuff and I’m surprised people aren’t more upset about it. Its a greater societal threat than anything else being discussed on either side of aisle so to speak. There is nothing more dangerous than trying to cover up the truth, it weakens your allies, emboldens your enemies and makes it easier for them to lie and not get caught. Crucially, it robs you of the chance to actually articulate an argument at the moment it was relevant. Ally makes good arguments above in the thread which I agree with, but nobody made them for nearly a fortnight of denial and no-comment while the Breitbarts of this world ran unchecked.

    Also, remember a while ago we had an argument about rhetoric? My position was that rhetoric should always be used responsibly and that even if it seems acceptable at one time where the target is ‘worthy’ one should be very careful at what is being put out there in terms of ‘approved’ argumentation. I first realised this when I noticed the far-right were doing their own version of what Laura Bates was up to and applying the same non-methodology to it and then copying her justifications. But an even clearer example has now appeared.

    Remember this classic from the #Yesallwomen #Notallmen glory days?
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/brutereason/2014/06/16/not-all-men-categorize-people-into-unhelpful-categories/

    Told you that this would happen.
    http://debunkingdenialism.com/2015/11/27/the-poisonous-mms-analogy-metastasizes-to-the-syrian-refugee-crisis/

    That awkward moment when the SJW realises they have more in common with Joseph Goebbels than Mary Wollestonecraft (the Men Kampf plug-in is useful in such cases, its a sick joke but I’m beginning to think could actually be useful). Arguing in bad faith is arguing in bad faith, bigotry is always bigotry, its not hard to understand and we must withstand the temptations. There is always, always, always a good excuse at any given time to make an exception and throw an elbow but deeper thinking is required. Thing is, will there be a mea culpa? No there will not. So now we have to in a sense suffer a bad and offensive argument for the worst reasons.

  22. StillGjenganger says

    @Marduk 22
    Here on the (center)right people do not get that upset about it now, because to us it seems a long-established modus operandi.

  23. sonofrojblake says

    @KirbmarcNew, 19:

    there can’t be religious tribunals in a secular society

    There can. It’s called “freedom of religion”. Anyone should be free to feel themselves bound by the strictures of their religion. Just because it’s a benightedly stupid thing to do doesn’t mean people shouldn’t be free to do it.

    That only applies, however, so long as everyone – all participants in particular – is clear that their secular legal rights are unaffected and their participation is a choice. As long as they’re clear that they have the legal right to disregard the decision of their rabbi/imam/whatever and go to a proper court, then let them do whatever they like. Why ever not?

  24. StillGjenganger says

    @sonofrojblake 24
    I completely agree.

    But, just for fun, how far do you think that people can choose to make a binding contract to the effect that disputes will be handled by a religious court? If two companies make the choice that contract disputes will be handled by a particular arbitration panel, I believe they are legally bound by the decision of the panel afterwards. Should the samne apply for people (provided, of course, that they are fully informed when they enter the contract, and that the religious court cannot give them less than their minimum rights under law)?

  25. sonofrojblake says

    Interesting question.

    I’d say yes, with an important qualifier: you can choose to be bound by whatever your religious court decides, in perpetuity, only so long as your religious court’s decision doesn’t infringe your legal rights. You can even choose, if you like, to waive your legal rights… as can we all (I’ve a right, on arrest, to consult a lawyer, but equally I can decline to do so, for instance). But the moment anyone decides to no longer be bound by such nonsense, boom, back to the law of the land. Seems a reasonable compromise.

  26. Marduk says

    I got less worried about that when I realised that its only the same mechanism that Judge Judy uses. Its hard to see Western Democracy as undermined by the definitive grouchy pensioner’s tv show. Interestingly the “fines” are paid for by the TV company, they cant be legally imposed through an agreed arbitration.

    Problem, as ever, are the parameters of consent when there are cultural forces involved. E.g., the volunteer prisoners in scientology labour camps. They can go at any time but they’ll lose their families and all their friends. That is just what will happen, so they stay. Difficult territory, the coercive element is not the ghost of LRH frowning upon you (“religion” in the abtract) its sons, daughters, parents and spouses. Its not ok but can society intervene? I’d say not but then even if it wanted to, I don’t see how practically.

  27. sonofrojblake says

    its only the same mechanism that Judge Judy uses

    Precisely. You can’t tolerate Judge Judy and say no to sharia courts. (Which leads on to the question… should we tolerate JJ?)

    the parameters of consent when there are cultural forces involved

    And this is where the left runs into the standard problem: we have progressive values, one of which is inclusiveness for other cultures, but some of those cultures don’t share those values, and in fact reject them, forcefully, every day, in our faces. The contortions necessary to come up with a non-hypocritical response to that are one of the main reasons we get laughed at by the right… and we deserve it.

  28. StillGjenganger says

    @Sonofrojblake 28

    My answer would be that society should set common rules and norms by ‘the greatest good for the greatest number’. Which means unashamedly accepting that the rules will fit the majority well and minorities less well. Which is what the left often calls ‘discrimination’. Minorites and people with different culture do deserve additional consideration, but it becomes a trade-off, trading largish diccomforts for the minority against lesser but widespread, discomforts for the majority, You can be quite tolerant of changes that do not affect the majority much, but much less tolerant of changes that require adjustment from everybody. That would lead to saying that attitudes towards women in publc space have to conform to our norm (because they affect everybody), whereas sharia courts can be much more easily accepted, as long as they only affect those who choose to take part.

    The consequences of this principle can be quite controversial. For instance they would suggest that we should stick to an explicit two-gender system, because that suits the majority, but make accommodation for trans individuals within it, because it is important to them but does not cost the rest of us much. And we should treat hetero and gay marriage (etc.) as identical, not because gay people have a ‘right’ to it, but because that is what the majority has decided. We could still accept a few exceptions for B+B owners and catholic adption agencies, again because it is important to them but does not cost everybody else very much (even if gay).

    I do think that this would give a more consistent system and honest debate, and it would free us from the victim olympics. But then I am not of the left anyway.

  29. sonofrojblake says

    we should stick to an explicit two-gender system, because that suits the majority

    “Suits” in what sense? Far as I can see, a three gender “system” would suit me just as well as two. I literally can’t think of any area of my life where I’d be noticeably inconvenienced by there being three genders, or more.

    we should treat hetero and gay marriage (etc.) as identical, not because gay people have a ‘right’ to it, but because that is what the majority has decided

    Whoah, hang on, no. A large part of the point of rights is that they’re innate – some American dudes used a phrase like “hold these truths to be self-evident”, although arguably they didn’t take that to its logical conclusion because they specified “men” and in that category only seemed to include white men.

    And no, we absolutely should NOT make exceptions for people who want to run a business but put a “No dogs, no black, no Irish” sign in the window. You want to keep black people out of your home, that’s your right, you bigot. But if you want to run a business for profit, you follow civilised rules like everyone else. This is a simple rule to grasp. And that line “does not cost everybody else very much (even if gay)” – privilege, much?

    You want a consistent system? Let the laws apply equally to everyone, gay, straight, trans, cis, black, white, old, young, male, female, superstitious or atheist. Within that, by all means, allow people to get up to more or less what they want in private, assuming they’re not bothering anyone else without their consent. So a yes to odd sexual practices between consenting adults, a yes to bigoted rules about who can come into your home, and a yes to “courts” which base their decisions on the millenia-old scribblings of some deranged Middle Eastern death-cult. But a NO to non-consensual encounters, a NO to discrimination in public life (including and especially the provision of goods and services) and NO to sky-fairies having any legal standing in proper courts. Doesn’t seem that hard to me.

  30. HuckleAndLowly says

    We can win by unequivocally condemning inappropriate and criminal behaviour while simultaneously and correctly insisting that we will not allow ourselves to judge the many by the sins of the few.

    There are cases where it is right to judge the many by the sins of the few: in particular, if only a few members of some community commit crimes, but the rest of that community support the attitudes behind those crimes (or turn a blind eye towards those crimes) then we should judge the group as a whole as having some responsibility for those crimes. One example that comes to my mind is nationalist terrorism in Northern Ireland. For a long time the broad community in the republic, and the Irish community in the US, tended to condemn the specific criminal acts of terrorists in an ambivalent way, while simultaneously feeling sympathy towards the motivation behind those crimes. That ambivalent attitude (which I held myself at one point) was part of what allowed those terrorist crimes to continue: and so the community as a whole actually did have some responsibility for the “sins of the few”. As time went on, however, the attitude in the broader nationalist community changed from ambivalence to something more like “these people are part of our community, we understand where they are coming from; but the things they are doing are very wrong and we must make that clear and stop them”.

    Given this, I think it is right to hold the Islamic community responsible for the few members that commit crimes, but just in those cases where the crimes are in some way motivated by, or can be ambivalently forgiven within, the attitude of the community as a whole.

  31. StillGjenganger says

    @HuckleAndLowly 31
    I absolutely agree. My favourite example is the European left in the 1970’s. There was a strong current talking about the absolute inhumanity of capitalism, the inevitability of revolution, the dictatorship of the proletariat etc. Which is all OK, I would say, to the extent that they were talking about general principles and future political mass movements, and not about immediate violence. But when the various Red Brigades, Baader-Meinhof grous; etc. came up and started kidnapping politicians and kneecapping trade unionists it all changed. From then on the normal, undiluted rhetoric came across as (and was) support for the ‘actually existing’ terrorists, and the left was met with a challenge to clearly disown the kneecappers or to be held complicit. By and large they did disown the terrorists, as you would have hoped, but meanwhile it did make it much harder for them to say things that were sincerely and non-violently meant.

  32. StillGjenganger says

    @Sonofrojblake 30
    I did say it was controversial, did I not?

    But your counterarguments bring us right back in the soup I was trying to get away from. The problem is that we all have our own idea of which principles are absolute, which actions are completely unacceptable etc. But we do not agree on what they are, and there is no neutral procedure for deciding. So how do you deal with conflicts?

    A common attitude is that ‘all belief systems are relative – except that on the thinigs that matter most to me it must be obvious to everybody that I am right.‘. A more left-wing version is that ‘the most victimised group takes absolute priority over the less victimised group – and this principle can NOT be put under discussion‘. Which re just underhand ways of saying ‘We do it my way because I am right and you are wrong’.

    Talking about absolute rights is a hindrance, not a help. It means putting your main principles beyond discussion, and starts a covert fight over who gets to define those absolute rights. Saying that the laws must apply equally to everyone just begs the question what the laws should be. In a favourite example of mine, two cohabiting sisters sued for the right to registered partnership. They were joint owners of the house, and wanted to be sure that the survivor did not have to sell for taxes when the first one died. As it happens they lost, but the result is not the main point. You cannot decide, on abstract principles, whether they can be denied an absolute right to registered partnership just because they are sisters (and if you try to weasel out by saying they have same rights, the next question comes with polygamy, then with communes, …).

    I think we get a better (and even gentler) discussion by actually admitting that value systems ARE relative. Of course you think that your values are the right ones (I certainly think that mine are), but we cannot base our society on a universally agreed set of values, because we cannot agree on one. What it always comes down to is not ‘who are right’, but ‘who get to decide’. And by admitting that openly, we can start thinking about getting to the best possible practical compromise instead of trying to force other people to pay homage to our values. Of course this is not a panacea. Some values are held too strongly to compromise on – and some people are just not willing to accept anything less than 100% their way. But it should make it easier to hold honest talks and find workable solutions.

    Briefly, on the specifics: A lot of people feel very uncomfortable sharing intimate spaces with strangers of the wrong sex. And our entire set of social interactions is built around the idea that there are two genders, and that gender can be identified at a glance. It would cramp my style considerably if I had to carefully think of each new persona I met as ‘of unidentified gender’ until I specifically identified that gender. This may trouble me less than having your gender misidentified – on the other hand there are surely more people like me than there are trans people. The point is that I have as much right to have my trouble considerd as they have. Certainly, if we must respect X feeling that (s)he is a woman even if (s)he)has a male body, surely we must also respect Y’s feeling that X is not of the same sex as her and does not belong in the same changing room? And putting the problem in terms of absolute rights means that we end up dismissing the feelings of either X or Y as illegitimate.

    As for gay cakes etc. I agree that there is not much room for maneuvre here, but I think there is some. The poinit is that gay people should be able to buy their wedding cakes and apply for their adoptions without significant hindrance. That does not necesarily mean that every single purveyour must cooperate and pretend to be an enthusiastic supporter of homosexuality.

  33. sonofrojblake says

    how do you deal with conflicts?

    Kill the lawyers first.

    A lot of people feel very uncomfortable sharing intimate spaces with strangers of the wrong sex

    So you get to decide for me what sex I am? Does that sound right?

    It would cramp my style considerably if I had to carefully think of each new persona I met as ‘of unidentified gender’ until I specifically identified that gender

    This suggests that there are significant and important differences in the way you treat people based purely on your perception of their gender. Which suggests your “style” needs work.

    there are surely more people like me than there are trans people

    I’m not sure there are…

    I have as much right to have my trouble considerd as they have

    Your “trouble”, as you describe it, is being unable to readily categorise someone according to a gender binary and thus discriminate in your treatment of them based on that judgement. Presumably you have similar “trouble” with teh gayz, what with them not having to wear pink armbands and such.

    surely we must also respect Y’s feeling that X is not of the same sex as her and does not belong in the same changing room?

    Absolutely. And in that circumstance, Y is entirely at liberty to bugger off home and not come out into public spaces where there are other people who might impinge on her delicate sensibilispers. Do you respect my feeling that the chap I saw in the swimming pool changing room last night was a disgusting wobbly blob whose naked morbid obesity made me feel physically sick at the sight of it? Or perhaps you reasonably retort that he has as much right as me to be there, what with having paid and everything, and my hangups about fat people are very much my problem? Is my feeling illegitimate? I’d say not – obviously. Do I think my feelings should dictate whether that chap gets to come in the changing room? Hell no.

    every single purveyour must cooperate and pretend to be an enthusiastic supporter of homosexuality

    You’re grasping at a straw man. No cake purveyor has been entreated to go on a Pride march. No B&B owner has been required to paint a rainbow on their front door. It really is as simple as: every single purveyor MUST provide goods and services equally without discrimination based on race, gender or sexuality. There really isn’t any room for manoeuvre on that.

  34. StillGjenganger says

    @Sonofrojblake 34

    If it is an individual quirk of yours that ‘disgustingly fat’ people should not appear in bathing suits in public, nobody else needs take notice of it. If it is a majority opinion, established as a social norm, I would expect people to respect it, much as they respect the existing norm to avoid being naked or having sex in public. If it was an opinion solidly held by a very substantial group, we would have to see.

    But OK, your way or the highway it is.

  35. That Guy says

    @35StillGjanger

    Your fundamental issue is your basing your working on utilitarian principles.

    This is a great way to pave the way to hell.

    I suspect you already know this, but basing society’s rules on what is most convenient for the majority inevitably discriminates against the minorities. It seems from what you’ve written, you just don’t care.

    It is telling that you’re casting ‘treating all human beings equally and with deserved respect’ as some kind of inflexible imposition.

  36. sonofrojblake says

    if it is a majority opinion, established as a social norm, I would expect people to respect it

    It IS a majority opinion, established as a social norm, that fat people are disgusting. Ask a fat person. There’s at least one blog right here on this very network where a fat person complains about the abuse they get for it. This is a bad thing.

    It’s a majority opinion, and it used to be established as a social norm, that certain classes of criminal upon conviction shall be killed in cold blood by the state. This is a bad thing.

    They’re two rather different examples. In the first example, it should be self-evident to any civilised person that even though it’s socially acceptable to scorn the obese, that to do so is wrong and an assault on their dignity. There are no statistics I can point to, and if you can’t see it, it’s likely you can’t be persuaded.

    In the second, however, there are arguments against which it’s not possible to reasonable object: the fallibility of the justice system leading inevitably to the execution of the innocent, the enormous cost, the complete absence of any deterrent effect, the list goes on, quite apart from less tangible arguments like the decivilising effect upon society as a whole.

    Enlightened, civilised European democracies got like that by selectively ignoring the tyranny of the majority.

  37. StillGjenganger says

    @That guy 36

    Adapting society norms to the majority obviously does make minorities worse off. But adapting them to one minority, or to nobody, makes the bulk of the population worse off. As a practical matter you cannot have a society without behaviour norms and expectations, and they cannot fit all equally well.

    The problem is that claiminng that all belief systems are equal, all needs should be equally met, and no one system or need can trounce the other leads to hypocrisy and deceitful debates. When it comes down to it, many belief systems and needs are incompatible. You cannot satisfy all equally – ultimately you need to decide which ones prevail, and by how much. Open utilitarianism makes it clear what is happening and lets you make your trade-offs in a sensible manner. Pretending you can do the impossible just leads to an underhand fight where people try to make sure that their needs trump those of other people without letting on that this is what they are doing.

    Treating people equally has to mean treating them in the same way no matter who they happen to be. It cannot mean giving them what they want no matter what they happen to want. And it cannot override all kinds of ‘suitability’ considerations, for want of a better word: If you are looking for an actor for a romantic lead you want the person that a lot of people will pay money to see – even if that leaves minorities with less chance at the top jobs and fewer role models..

    Oh, and treating people with ‘deserved respect’ is an unfortunate way of putting it – who deserves respect depends on their actions, and on the opinions of whoever is judging, which puts you right back in discrimination territory.

  38. That Guy says

    @38

    You seem to be upset by the concept of equality.

    I hope you remain upset for the indefinite future.

  39. StillGjenganger says

    @That guy 39
    And you choose to insult me instead of arguing. Is it that my arguments are too hard to refute? Anyway, I shall be happy to slug this one out if you change your mind.Who knows, I might even learn something.

  40. sonofrojblake says

    many belief systems and needs are incompatible

    No. Many belief systems and WANTS are incompatible. Nobody NEEDS to be Muslim, or vegetarian, or conservative. Your confusions between needs and wants is where your difficulty lies. I don’t believe society should be set up to meet everyone’s wants – that’s self-evidently impossible. I do believe it should be set up to meet everyone’s NEEDS, and it plainly isn’t… but it could be. Human nature is agin it, but in civilised countries we’ve successfully overcome our nature by, for instance, banning and anathametising capital punishment.

    If you are looking for an actor for a romantic lead you want the person that a lot of people will pay money to see

    Ooh, bad example. Assume you, or anyone else, has any idea what’s going to be a successful movie. If you, or anyone else, knew that, the movie business would look a lot different, and the words “sleeper hit” wouldn’t have a definition.

    treating people with ‘deserved respect’ is an unfortunate way of putting it

    We can agree there. Respect is earned. However, before respect, there is politeness – basic consideration. Treat people with that first. But now I’m just arguing semantics.

  41. StillGjenganger says

    @Sonofrojblake.

    I think that ‘need’ is a bit of a weasel word, semantically. If you say ‘I need A in order to achieve X’ that is objective. You can determine objectively whether A is a necessary condition for X. If you just say ‘I need A’, then the difference to ‘I want A’ is a matter of subjective priority. If you use ‘need’ you are claiming that your getting A is a question of objective necessity rather than personal preference, and that your claim for A cannot be put in question. But other people are free to deny your claim and say that this is not a need but just a desire. There is no way do determine the difference – it is all a matter of your priorities.

    If we say that we can and should satisfy all needs, we just end up with a furious debate whether some given desire qualifies as a need (so that other people have a duty to satisfy it) or not. But that question is basically undecidable. Better stick to the thing we actually need to decide: ‘Looking at the consequences of the various courses of action, should we do this or not’.

    Just for fun, imagine I am sitting in a bar, totally stressed out, and have to get the car home within the next half hour. Which of the following statements is true:
    “I need another drink!”. “I need to stay sober so I can drive home!”. Neither? Both?

  42. That Guy says

    @StillGjenganger

    Did I insult you? I simply stated a fact. That this fact upsets you is your problem, not mine.

    Similarly, I’m not arguing with you because I have much better and more productive ways to spend my time. Trying to educate you, it is becoming increasingly clear, would be an uphill struggle considering your posts suggest you are near impervious to both reason and empathy.

    Enjoy

  43. StillGjenganger says

    @Sonofrojblake 37

    Ah, I missed that post until now.

    You say that abusing people because they are fat is a bad thing, and the death penalty is a bad thing. As it happens, I agree with you on both counts. But that does not really get us very far. All it says is that as long as our norms are the same, we can easily agree. The moment we actually disagree about something, it all falls down.

    Next you get on to saying that “it should be self-evident to any civilised person” and “it’s not possible to reasonable object” to things you think are right. But you can easily find people who do not find your arguments self-evident, and who have plenty of objections that they themselves think are reasonable. Then what? If you accept them as civilised, reaonable people you have just been proved wrong. And if you refuse their arguments because they are not civilised, you have commited a circular argument: ‘Their disagreement does not matter because they are not civilised’, and ‘they are not civilised because they disagree’. What that boils down to is an underhand version of ‘I am right because I am right’.

    It is probably true that “Enlightened, civilised European democracies got like that by selectively ignoring the tyranny of the majority.” But then it is equally true that rich colonial powers got that way by selectively ignoring the interests of the natives. Do you realise just how arrogant that attitude is? I am being pilloried for being willing to disregard some desires of minorities in favour of the majority. And here you are, praising a project that systematically ignores the majority, for ideological reasons. How can you justify it? Ah yes, because the elite that took the decisions happened to be right. How do you know? Because they think the same as me, and I am right, you say? What kind of multicultural society are you going to build, where an unelected, unaccountable elite takes all the most important decisions? And how are you going to argue, if ever your friends lose power, and the new elite decide that ‘it is not possible to reasonably object’ to the death penalty for insulting the prophet?

    When it comes down to it, I am not sure how much we disagree about. I surely agree much more with you than with your average Pakistani immigrant. But if we are to build some kind of society out of groups that disagree, we cannot start with the unstated assumption that ‘my side just happens to be right’. We need to get it clear that there are different beliefs, each rational by its own lights, and that in the absence of agreed principles it is in part a matter of power who gets to decide. If nothing else, admitting that you are getting your way by force can give a useful humility that is lacking in people who like to think that they are right and everybody else is wrong. I also think it can be easier to manage society when the question is how to get an arrangement that everybody can live with, rather than who is right and who is wrong. That does not mean you cannot argue for equal treatment, or against the death penalty. But you do have to argue, rather than just pretend that no civilised person can disagree with you.

  44. Lucythoughts says

    # Gjenganger

    As I see it, the problem with the Utilitarian approach is that it presumes that you can quantify the impact of a given ruling on everyone concerned. So, you say for example:

    “if it is an individual quirk of yours that ‘disgustingly fat’ people should not appear in bathing suits in public, nobody else needs take notice of it. If it is a majority opinion, established as a social norm, I would expect people to respect it, much as they respect the existing norm to avoid being naked or having sex in public. If it was an opinion solidly held by a very substantial group, we would have to see.”

    And here is the problem. We can’t quantify the level of distress caused by seeing fat people swimming, for everyone who might consider themselves distressed by it, and weigh it against the quantifiable distress caused to the man who is fat at being denied access to the swimming pool, combined with the knock on distress to his family and the distress to all the other overweight people when news gets around that Utilityville Leisure Centre is now restricting swimming pool access according to individual BMI. We might say, one is “obviously” greater than the other but that leaves you no better off than saying “I am right and you are wrong” which is what you are struggling against.

    So rapidly the Utilitarian approach morphs from “the greatest good for the greatest number” to “the majority will decide”. Well, in some places the majority might believe that it is desirable to lynch gay people but the most hardened cultural relativist would be hard pressed to argue that that constitutes the greatest good for the greatest number. So who then gets to decide?

  45. StillGjenganger says

    @Lucythoughts

    Utilitarianism was maybe the wrong word (never use words you do not fully understand).

    Ultimately this is about power, yes. If you have incompatible and non-negotiable goals for society (small-scale or large), the only solution is to fight it out and see who wins. I would not claim that you can come up with any objective calculation for ‘the greatest good for the greatest number. Just that thinking in terms of practical results and trade-offs would give better results than concentrating on absolute rights, and who is right or wrong.

    But I see a more normal situation as people with some shared stake in society and a shared interest in making that society work. And here I would propose something like enlightened majority rule (if you have several equally powerful groups contesting the soul of society – like Malaysia – nothing is likely to work well). The dominant majority ultimately gets to set the norms, but in the interest of social harmony (and of decency and respect for others) concessions are made to minority groups as far as relative numbers, practical questions – and the rigidity of your specific principles – can allow. The majority accepts that minority members get more (sometimes much more) money and consideration per head than they do. And minority members accept that society ws mainly optimised for someone else, and they will never fit in quite as well as people form the majority. More generally differring groups, like Trans people and Radfems, look for ways of minimising aggravation across the board, rather than proving themselves right and banishing their comperitors and their opiions into outer darkness. When this is not enough you still fall back on fighting, so the final results will reflect the power relationships to some extent, but hopefully it could reduce both the number and scope of fights.

    This is also just a value system, of course, and no more universal than anything else, but I think it would make a good backbone for a tolerant and pluralistic society. And it would avoid the victimhood olympics and some other distortions in the progressive worldview, that insists both that everybody is equal and that no-ones norms or ideas are better than anyone elses, and that their own ideas are absolutely good and should prevail evven over the democratic majority of their fellow citizens.Unsurprisingly the results get weird – as the mathematicians say, once you accept that 2 = 3, you can use that to prove anything you want to.

  46. Lucythoughts says

    Gjengager

    Well, I’m all for an honest, open debate and pragmatic solutions where they can be found but I doubt your methods of getting there. You say that social norms should be set by the majority; well, surely they are already? Norm being short for normal, social norms are just whatever most people in society think is normal and how they normally behave. Some groups might advocate for drastic changes to the existing social norms but they aren’t going to get them unless the majority of people adopt those changes, by definition.

    So if norms are defined by the majority, the question becomes what protections do we offer, in law, to people who don’t fit those norms and are likely to be stigmatised. What makes me uneasy is that you seem to be arguing for a right to deny people access to everyday services if they violate those social norms, even when their behaviour is not in and of itself disruptive. Once you open that can of worms it is very hard to see where it stops. So, if you let B&B owners turn away gay couples, why not black people? Or as Sonofrojblake said, if you allow trans people to be banned from using changing rooms, why not fat people? Why not breastfeeding women? Why not disabled people, or people with learning difficulties, or people who are “a bit weird”?

    Rights, I think, have to be argued as absolutes, not because they are necessarily innate but because the final position has to be clear for everyone. Making it a free-for-all doesn’t make the arguments less divisive, it just means that everything becomes negotiable. If anyone can lobby to be allowed to exclude any group from anything for any reason, I can’t see how that is a path to fewer fights or a more tolerant society.

  47. Lucy says

    “Does this mean there are particular problems with misogynistic behaviours, attitudes and cultures among North African or Muslim men? Maybe. ”

    Maybe?

    Maybe?

    That’s your argument?

    Who knows! With progress in integrity like this, by this time next century we might be considering (if not treating) the actual prejudice and discrimination against women to be equally important to the potential prejudice and discrimination against men.

    Maybe.

  48. Lucy says

    “The truth is this: Asylum-seekers, refugees, emigrants and immigrants are people, human beings in a full spectrum of behaviours and qualities. Among every million migrants you will find hundreds of thousands of actual and potential doctors, engineers, nurses, teachers and plumbers. You will find a handful of future Olympic champions and Nobel prize winners. You will find a small minority of hardened criminals, psychopaths, murderers, terrorists and rapists and a large rump of souls who are basically decent but capable of acting like utter dickheads from time to time. You know, almost like they are human beings?”

    The You’re being disingenuous. For somebody who has a penchent for analysing rape statistics I find it surprising that you skirt around these ones:

    Ethnicity % of total defendants % of population in England and Wales
    Asian 6.5% 4.6%
    Black 14.4% 2.3%
    Mixed Ethnic Origin 2.6% 1.3%
    All White 74.7% 90.9%
    White British 69.7% 87%
    5.10.3 In summary, there were fewer white defendants (74.7%) than in the population as a whole in England and Wales (90.9%) with a greater proportion of successful outcomes (57.8%) than for other ethnicities (38.2%-44.7%).

    https://www.cps.gov.uk/publications/equality/vaw/vaw_eia.html

    We can’t be complaisant about the sexism that is endemic in white British culture. In my view it’s a civil rights matter which needs a strategy akin to the strategies men have devised to protect themselves from internal threats like terrorism (hate speech laws, censorship, freezing of funds, secret informing and policing, standing trillion pound military, drones).

    But the misogyny endemic in Asian, African and Muslim culture is at a different order of magnitude. With different religio-cultural drivers. It ought not to controversial to acknowledge that or to acknowledge that it’s here. And I despair of the journalists and politicians who don’t step up.

    It surely can’t be that we’re afraid of hurting men’s national pride or personal feelings can it? It can’t possibly just be that.
    Afraid of being called racist by compatriots? Surely it can’t just be something as cowardly and self-serving as that.
    Unsure of your facts? No, that’s easily solved.

    Fundamentally it’s that you’re more concerned about the discrimination and prejudice that MIGHT be directed against men instead of that which IS directed at women. That’s why every time one of these scandals hits the news, the conversation shifts from sexism to racism within hours.

    On the right, I have no doubt this is a cynical calculation because discrimination against men is more socially risky than against largely silent and docile women who only threaten to hold a day of dance.

    On the left, I fear it’s a more sinister reason: that you think social inequality between men is more intellectually interesting and culturally important.

  49. StillGjenganger says

    @Lucythoughts

    Norms are mostly set by the majority, yes – but progressive thought considers this to be illegitimate. Or at least it is accepted as long as the norms make no real difference to anybody, which is just another way of saying ‘no’. Even if 95%+ of the population agreed with Germaine Greers opinion on trans people (as might well be the case, bar the combative wording), progressive thought is that trans women ARE women, and can in no way be considered differently. And that it is simply irrelevant what anybody thinks about it. The rather unusual idea that a penis is a female sex organ if carried by a trans woman is actually a logical conclusion of that approach.

    That does not mean that we just set the everybody free to live out their prejudices. Just that the protections we give to minorities, like the norms we set, are for society to discuss and decide. Making an absolute, abstract right is a way to make discussion taboo – and to leave it to lawyers and polemicists to tell a long-suffering society what they must do and think. There should be a right to deny people everyday services if they violate social norms (what is ‘disruptive’ is in the eyes of the beholder), but it is not an individual right. It is up to society to decide which behaviours must be tolerated, which will be disapproved, and which allow people to refuse to serve you. Just because we can decide that brestfeeding in unacceptable in public it does nto mean taht we have to.

    If you really want a consistent system, there can be no restrictions:
    – Marriage to a man, a woman, your sister, 15 people of mixed sex, a dog (assuming a consent procedure could be found), or a corporate entity like the SAS regiment.
    – Free access to all changing rooms for cis women, trans women, cis men, and trans men.
    – Free entry to hotels and restaurants whether or not you are fat, trans, breast-feeding, falling-down drunk, naked, or having sex.
    – No door guards or dress code on night clubs – rigidly first-come-first-served as entry policy.

    But few people actually favours that. What people do instead is to claim an absolute right, and then selectively (and inconsistently) apply it only to the cases they favour.

    But then we do not need this absolute clarity. We get along perfectly well saying that you can marry either a man or a women, but only one, and not a close relative. We prohibit sex discrimination but allow single-sex schools. We prohibit job discrimination on account of religion, but allow it for churches and faith schools. We allow doctors to refuse performing abortions (good) – but if the entire BMA ganged up to make abortion impossible in the UK we would and should take away that right. You can allow breastfeeding in public without having to allow public sex, or let people ban it without giving them a right to ban fat people.

    Everything should be negotiable, for the very simple reason that the rules of society should be set by society. The religious can argue that their rules are backed by a higher authority: the will of God. But progressives have no such authority to appeal to. All they can and do say is that these rights are absolute, beyond discussion, and override anything people might think. Because? Well, because they say so.

  50. Lucy says

    “Frankly, I think that this has more to do with mob mentality, alcohol and cultural norms than it does with any interpretation of Islam.”

    Also something to do with the interpretation of Islam though:

    “O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be molested. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.” 33:59

  51. Lucy says

    “We can win by unequivocally condemning inappropriate and criminal behaviour while simultaneously and correctly insisting that we will not allow ourselves to judge the many by the sins of the few. ”

    So does that mean we can introduce sexual equality education as a condition of entry from countries which have little to no concept of it and a strong cultural and religious impetus to resist it?

    Or not?

  52. StillGjenganger says

    @Lucy 51
    To some extent it does not matter if we blame this on religion or just culture. It is culture. It is strongly associated with Islamic cultures in the moderrn world (if Ally disagrees with that, we have an argument). Whether it comes from the prophet or just a cultural current is less important.

    @Lucy 52
    Excellent question, that!

  53. Ally Fogg says

    Lucy [49]

    There are some major problems with the statistics you quote.

    The first is that rape, like all interpersonal crime, is more common in impoverished and socially marginalised sections of the population.

    White British people make up 87% of the total population but are a significantly lower proportion of the bottom economic quartiles.

    Secondly, rape, like all violent crimes, is disproportionately committed by young men aged 15-30. Again, the proportion of the population that is white is significantly smaller among younger age groups than in the general population.

    Third, the crime statistics you quote include those committed by people who are not permanent residents or citizens while the population statistics you quote do not.

    Finally, and most importantly, we have the old problem that you are quoting recorded crime statistics, so only those that have been reported to police and accepted as a crime by police. You have no way of knowing how representative that is of the actual full range of rapes that are recurring. For example, it could be that British police are much more likely to believe and record as a crime if a report describes black / BME offenders.

    [on the other hand, you could make an argument that for cultural reasons, Asian women might be much less likely to report rapes committed by men from within their community, which could skew the figures in a different direction. At the same time, you could point out that rape is more commonly committed by men who have been drinking and so rape is likely to be less common among non-drinking religious communitiies.]

    The bottom line is that the stats are far, far too complicated and inadequate to be able to make the types of claims you want to make.

    It is *possible* that rape is committed more frequently by people from some cultural, ethnic or religious communities than others but there’s not really any evidence for it.

  54. Lucy says

    Sgj

    “it does not matter if we blame this on religion or just culture. It is culture. It is strongly associated with Islamic cultures in the moderrn world (if Ally disagrees with that, we have an argument). Whether it comes from the prophet or just a cultural current is less important.”

    Religion is culture. Culture is religion. But it matters. Unless you can identify source of ideas, you can’t challenge them. And we all seem to be actively involved in a mass unspoken agreement not to challenge them.

  55. Lucy says

    Ally Fogg

    “Ally Fogg says
    There are some major problems with the statistics you quote.
    The first is that rape, like all interpersonal crime, is more common in impoverished and socially marginalised sections of the population.
    White British people make up 87% of the total population but are a significantly lower proportion of the bottom economic quartiles.
    Secondly, rape, like all violent crimes, is disproportionately committed by young men aged 15-30. Again, the proportion of the population that is white is significantly smaller among younger age groups than in the general population.
    Third, the crime statistics you quote include those committed by people who are not permanent residents or citizens while the population statistics you quote do not.
    Finally, and most importantly, we have the old problem that you are quoting recorded crime statistics, so only those that have been reported to police and accepted as a crime by police. You have no way of knowing how representative that is of the actual full range of rapes that are recurring. For example, it could be that British police are much more likely to believe and record as a crime if a report describes black / BME offenders.
    [on the other hand, you could make an argument that for cultural reasons, Asian women might be much less likely to report rapes committed by men from within their community, which could skew the figures in a different direction. At the same time, you could point out that rape is more commonly committed by men who have been drinking and so rape is likely to be less common among non-drinking religious communitiies.]
    The bottom line is that the stats are far, far too complicated and inadequate to be able to make the types of claims you want to make.
    It is *possible* that rape is committed more frequently by people from some cultural, ethnic or religious communities than others but there’s not really any evidence for it.”

    Maybe.

    so that’s that solved then.

  56. StillGjenganger says

    @Lucy 56
    By all means let us challenge them. I just think it may be more productive to stick to saying that specific groups has specific attitudes we want to challenge. If you start blaming it on Islam itself (justified as I think it is), you risk getting into a sterile discussions about “‘Islam is a religion of peace!’ – ‘No it is not!’ – ‘Yes it is!’! etc. And getting people to change their attitudes, hard as it is, is still easier than getting people to change their religion.

  57. Lucythoughts says

    #50 Gjenganger

    We HAVE social norms determined by the majority; they reflect what people actually do most of the time, not necessarily what they believe other people should be allowed to do. There are many opinions about what people should be allowed to do and they are debated, endlessly. You want “enlightened majority rule”? What exactly do you think we’ve got? Issues are discussed in the public forum and in parliament. Laws are created by being drafted, debated, amended and ultimately passed through two houses, one (in the UK) is democratically elected, the other contains at least a proportion of people who were appointed there because they were deemed to possess considerable legal expertise. The equality acts were brought in through that process and they uphold the right to breastfeed or be gay or practice your religion, not in defiance of the population but because those are majority values. The debate was had and if you were a homophobic B&B owner, I’m afraid you lost it. The negotiations took place, you put forward your case, the verdict went against you. So where exactly is this long-suffering majority whose norms and values are being over-ridden by the progressive movement? Why are they not making use of the democratic process to have their collective voices heard?

    And if you want honesty and consistency then lets be honest, EVERYONE believes in moral absolutes. I unashamedly believe that some things are absolutely wrong, whenever and wherever they happen. I will never admit that murder or rape or torture become acceptable if the majority believe they are acceptable and so long as they only affect people who violate that society’s norms. And I don’t for a moment think that you believe it either. If you want a tolerant pluralistic society I suggest you look around and compare what we have to what it might have been, or what it once was. We arrived at that by a process of gradually changing majority opinions, by campaigning and by saying, the status quo is not right just because it is the status quo.

    None of this means that I don’t think that the progressive movement is largely making a hash of it, but that isn’t really the point. The point is that conviction is not reserved for the religious and it is not incompatible with the belief that changing society into something better has to, and should, happen through persuasion and consensus.

  58. sonofrojblake says

    @Ally, 54:

    the crime statistics you quote include those committed by people who are not permanent residents or citizens while the population statistics you quote do not

    So part of your argument against Lucy’s statistics is that a significant proportion of the raping is being done by immigrants? Are you sure you want to use that as an argument?

    It is *possible* that rape is committed more frequently by people from some cultural, ethnic or religious communities than others but there’s not really any evidence for it.

    It is near certain that rape is committed more frequently by people from some cultural, ethnic or religious communities than others, but the evidence for it doesn’t suit your narrative… except when it does (see above). Poor show.

  59. Ally Fogg says

    So part of your argument against Lucy’s statistics is that a significant proportion of the raping is being done by immigrants? Are you sure you want to use that as an argument?

    Nope, just simple maths. 87% of the UK population is white British but at any given time a markedly lower proportion of the people present on this territory are white British. there are around 5m non-British-citizens here at any given time. Even if they were committing crimes at exactly the same rate as the population as a whole (or indeed, even if they were committing crimes at a lower rate) that would be enough to shift Lucy’s figures a bit.

    It is near certain that rape is committed more frequently by people from some cultural, ethnic or religious communities than others, but the evidence for it doesn’t suit your narrative… except when it does (see above). Poor show.

    And you know this how? Because there are lots of brown-faced rapists on the front page of the Daily Mail? Is that your evidence? Or is it just something you know, because hey, common sense?

  60. sonofrojblake says

    You seem to have missed the point. I’m not disagreeing with your maths, just marvelling that drawing attention to just how many foreign rapists we’ve let in is something you’re comfortable drawing attention to in this context.

    On your second point: Cultures where women are literally chattel, where their word is worth half that of a man, where they have no choice about whom they marry because they have been sold for cattle by their father, where if they report rape they must produce MALE corroborating witnesses if they are to be believed… people from cultures like that are no more likely to commit misogynistic crime than people from cultures like, for instance, the UK. So culture, upbringing, societal attitudes – none of these things have any effect on how likely someone is to commit a particular type of crime? What’s the point of culture, then?

  61. 123454321 says

    “misogynistic crime”

    Can someone help me understand and define (with examples) exactly what a “misogynistic crime” is?

  62. sonofrojblake says

    You are at this moment as you read this in front of a computer which is connected to the internet, one of the sites of which is called “Google”. Just how helpless are you?

  63. 123454321 says

    “You are at this moment as you read this in front of a computer which is connected to the internet, one of the sites of which is called “Google”. Just how helpless are you?”

    I’m genuinely interested to hear what you think constitutes a misogynistic crime? A list containing a few would be good.

  64. sonofrojblake says

    You have the definitions. Make your own list. I’m genuinely interested what your difficulty is with the idea.

  65. StillGjenganger says

    @Sonofrojblake 71

    I know this is a private fight – but I am also curious to hear which crimes you think would qualify. A ‘misogynistic crime’ would be a crime that was motivated by misogyny, not just a crime with a female victim. What you choose to classify as a ‘misogynistic crime’, or a ‘hate crime’, or an ‘evil crime’, or a ‘terrorist’ depends strongly on your politics. We can try to guess what the politics of Sonofrojblake are likely to lead to – but it would be more informative if you could tell us.

  66. 123454321 says

    “You have the definitions. Make your own list.”

    I don’t have a list so please help me. Neither do I have a list of misandric crimes, so perhaps we can put one of those together at the same time. If you won’t help, can we safely assume there are misogynistic crimes (you ok with that?) and then we can put this one to bed nice and early. As StillG said, put aside your politics otherwise logic might tear apart your reasoning.

  67. sonofrojblake says

    It’s not private, and it’s not a fight. And my politics are irrelevant. Whatever my personal politics, it seems (to me) uncontroversial to talk about “misogynistic crime”. It’s no more obscure or difficult a concept than, say, “acquisitive crime” or “hate crime”. Some crimes are motivated in whole or in part by racism, some by the desire to gain stuff/money for one’s own use, and some by, charitably, problems dealing with women. My personal list of what crimes I consider to fall into each of those categories is of no conceivable interest to anyone. Arguing around the edges about whether this particular hypothetical incident or that particular real incident constitutes an exemplar of that type of crime is similarly beside the point. Those categories of crime exist… or don’t. Hey, maybe there’s no free will and crime and responsibility are illusions. If that’s where this is headed, I can’t be arsed.

    My point can be broken down as follows:
    Premise 1. some crimes are motivated or informed by a view of women as unequal to and less than men.
    Premise 2. some cultures have as one of their observable features a view of women as unequal to and less than men.
    Contention: people from such cultures are more likely to commit such crimes than people from more enlightened cultures.

    By all means dispute one or other of those premises, or argue that my contention does not follow. Don’t waste time getting personal, though.

  68. sonofrojblake says

    I don’t have a list so please help me

    One more time for the hard of thinking: no.

    can we safely assume there are misogynistic crimes (you ok with that?)

    Yes, we can. As I said. Is that it?

  69. StillGjenganger says

    @Sonofrojblake 74
    I do not agree with your comparison. ‘Acquisitive crime’ is easy, bcause the motive of getting stuff is well established and easy to determine. ‘Hate crime’ is very hard indeed. If footballer A calls footballer a ‘slimy, slut-shagging love-rat’ or some such, is that a hate crime? If footballer B calls fotballer A a ‘f***ing c**t’ is that a hate crime? If, instead, he calls him a ‘f***ing black c**t’, is it a hate crime now? If I hate X and beat him up because of this, does it become a ‘hate crime’ if he is black? ‘Hate crime’ would be impossible to determine – except that being a criminal offense we can go by the law and legal precedent. As for ‘misogynistic crime’ there is neither law not legal precedent – it could mean anything.

    But OK. Your definition says ‘a crime[…] informed by a view of women as unequal to and less than men’. I do not think it is a very useful category – it is more calculated to spread political indignation than to understand what is going on – but it is clear enough to understand what you mean.

    I withdraw, satisfied with the answer.

  70. StillGjenganger says

    @Lucythoughts 60
    Answering that will take some thinking on my part. I hope to come back to it later, when I have more time.

  71. StillGjenganger says

    @Gjenganger 76
    Oh, Sonofrojblake, I should add this:
    I do not think it is enlightening to discuss whether ‘misogynistic crimes’ exist or not. You can make a definition, and unless you have been spectacularly inept, there will be some things fall within that definition. The important point is ‘so what’: whether this category helps making sense of things or distracts from the things that do matter. Compare with ‘lucky people’. You can establiish that some people are lucky (at least if you wait till they are dead before you decide). But unless you believe in fate or karma it still makes no sense to divide people in ‘lucky’ and ‘unlucky’.

  72. sonofrojblake says

    I do not think it is enlightening to discuss whether ‘misogynistic crimes’ exist or not

    Neither do I. It is to me so self-evident that they do that one might as productively discuss whether acquisitive crime exists. I might point out that at no stage did I suggest it was a topic worthy of discussion. That came from elsewhere.

    The important point is ‘so what’: whether this category helps making sense of things or distracts from the things that do matter

    #

    I refer you to post 74 (the bit with the premises and the contention), and for that matter the post beneath which this discussion sits, very title of which refers to “uncomfortable truths about migration and sexual violence”.

    What makes the truth “uncomfortable”? If the truth were simply that migrants have precisely the same propensity towards sexual violence as the indigenous population, that wouldn’t be in any way “uncomfortable”. In fact, if that were the truth, it would go a long way to upholding the conventional leftist narrative that we’re all the same under the skin and all cultures are worthy of equal respect and tolerance. Nobody could possibly be made uncomfortable by the information that Muslims of North African, Middle Eastern or south Asian origin are exactly as likely as anyone else to rape or sexually abuse women or girls – that would be great news.

    So what are these “uncomfortable truths”?

  73. Ally Fogg says

    What makes the truth “uncomfortable”? If the truth were simply that migrants have precisely the same propensity towards sexual violence as the indigenous population, that wouldn’t be in any way “uncomfortable”.

    This is pretty much self-evidently untrue.

    The whole point I am making here is that the ‘left’ (for want of a better term) seem completely incapable of admitting that migrant populations, like any populations, carry a proportion of criminals and potential criminals. Hence the urge to deny and downplay rather than acknowledging and confronting facts as we know them.

    See for example the latest Helen Lewis missive in the NS which goes to enormous twisty lengths to avoid having to admit that young men of North African descent committed hundreds of sexual assaults in one evening in Cologne.

  74. Ally Fogg says

    although to add… I have never said ‘migrants have precisely the same propensity towards sexual violence as the indigenous population’ as I genuinely do not know whether that is true or not.

    What should be undeniable (although many do seem determined to try) is that migrants have some propensity towards sexual violence.

    That is not the same thing.

  75. Lucythoughts says

    Not really too concerned about this myself, but I would just say that even “acquisitive crime” isn’t that straight forward. I might shoplift because I get a thrill from the risk, people call it kleptomania, but I might also want the stuff I steal. I think “hate crime” has been determined by precedent: if I attack a stranger because of his race, that is a hate crime; if I attack my husband’s lover then the fact that I hate the bitch doesn’t make it a hate crime, whatever race she is. Motives are complex and certainly a crime might be motivated partially by racism and partially by other factors. If I commit the kinds of sexual assaults described in Ally’s article or in the page he links to under “Egypt” I think that those are clearly crimes which are motivated in part by misogyny but that doesn’t mean they are not also motivated by sexual enjoyment or the chance of making a robbery.

    So does motive matter? Judges would say yes, because it impacts on the chance that you will commit similar crimes in the future, the threat that you pose to the community, whether or not you feel remorse or what it might take to rehabilitate you. These things are reflected in sentencing. It isn’t necessarily helpful to have absolute definitions which serve to oversimplify complex interacting factors but equally, you ignore motive at your peril.

  76. StillGjenganger says

    @Sonofrojblake 79, Ally

    The point is that whether or not there are events that fall under your definition of ‘misogynistic crime’, this is not a good way to talk about this kind of thing. So that we should avoid the term whether they exist or not. We have some real questions here:

    – Do immigrants commit rape, sexual harassment, domestic violence, sex discrimination etc.? Pretty obviously yes.
    – Do they commit more of them, or more of some kinds, at least? Many would take Cologne and ‘common sense’ as proof that they do. Ally says that we do not know, and I repect that (though I do suspect that a Bayesian estimate on the basis of available information might suggest that they do).
    – Are the (kind of) sexual crimes and misdemeanours committed by immigrants caused, to a siginficant extent, by patriarchal attitudes? Again, it sounds like a good bet, but that only makes sense if they actually do commit more or different crimes.

    Thes are the questions we need to discuss. But if we choose to have our discussion in terms of ‘misogynistisc crimes’, we are bringing in an assumption that patriarchal attitudes do cause increased crimes, and that immigrants, having those attitudes, do commit more of those crimes. That actually makes the discussion more difficult, since we have to deliberately disregard the implicatoins of our chosen words in order to look at what is actually going on. We do not need the term. It serves to obfuscate, not to bring clarity. Let us try to manage without it.

  77. Adiabat says

    Ally (80): But there’s nothing uncomfortable about the statement that migrant populations carry a proportion of criminals and potential criminals. As you say it applies to any population.

    What is making the progressive left uncomfortable is the slippery slope that admitting this wrt migrants will start. The next inevitable question is what you gloss over in #81 and elsewhere: what is the propensity and nature of violence for this particular group? There have been several high profile, horrendous examples recently. Is it not unreasonable that you expect us to just ignore these, and accept your blind assurances that everything will be okay?

    The next question, once you answer that you don’t know, is: Don’t you think we should look into this question before blindly letting millions of them into the EU, completely unchecked and unmonitored? The evidence we have so far, (and it is evidence despite your claims before) while not conclusive, is looking pretty bad.

    In post #55 you’ve already agreed with Lucy that the migrant population need to be taught not to rape, and need to be taught that rape is bad*, so why not put a hold on taking in these people until we’ve done more research into what attitudes these people have and what effect they will have on the safety and security of our countries? Our humanitarian obligations do not extend to endangering our own civilian populations in such a way as Cologne or Rotherham…

    The progressive left, which includes much of the media, talking heads, and many in power (especially in the EU), is between a rock and a hard place with this one. The path they are currently taking raises questions about their honesty and competence, and just makes more and more people from all political areas stand up against them, while the path you suggest will lead to them losing the narrative on immigration, and thus the control and power they currently have. They either lose credibility or lose the migration argument (though either way it’ll probably be both).

    * Okay, I’m phrasing this in an inflammatory way for demonstrative, devil’s advocate, purposes. But I think this sort of spin is what you can expect.

  78. Ally Fogg says

    Adiabat

    With the benefit of hindsight after 84 comments, I realise I should probably have spelled this out in the OP. What I am really saying is that I expect the media & political classes (across the spectrum) to be asking and addressing the following questions about Cologne and / or any similar scandals the following questions::

    1. What happened?
    2. Why did it happen?
    3. What can be done to minimise the risk that it ever happens again?

    Those questions are essential, but at the moment they are only being answered by the anti-immigration and anti-Muslim right wing. They are offering answers to those questions which I believe are morally and politically wrong. The problem is that unless the left is prepared to offer its own honest answers to those questions then the right is pushing at an open door.

    My point in this blog

  79. sonofrojblake says

    @Ally, 80:
    I said:

    What makes the truth “uncomfortable”? If the truth were simply that migrants have precisely the same propensity towards sexual violence as the indigenous population, that wouldn’t be in any way “uncomfortable”.

    You said:

    This is pretty much self-evidently untrue.

    How on earth is that “self-evident”?

    I can understand the left being uncomfortable admitting, if it’s true, that people from backward, patriarchal cultures have a greater propensity toward sexual violence than the indigenous populations into which they’re immigrating. It goes completely against the left’s “we’re all equal, we’re all the same, all our cultures deserve the same respect” narrative. Obviously they’d be uncomfortable admitting that “truth”. The truth value of the contention there requires evidence, but the evidence points that way.

    But you’re here positing that it’s “self-evident” that the left is uncomfortable admitting that immigrants from backward, patriarchal cultures are even as likely as the indigenous population to commit sexual crimes. Put another way, put more explicitly, here’s what you’re saying:

    The only thing the left would be comfortable admitting is that civilised westerners are a BIGGER sexual violence risk than the immigrants from backward, patriarchal cultures.

    If that’s self-evident, then what you’re effectively saying is that “the Left” is a joke. You’re not saying that – are you?

    @StillGjenganger:

    if we choose to have our discussion in terms of ‘misogynistisc crimes’, we are bringing in an assumption that patriarchal attitudes do cause increased crimes

    Seems fair enough. It was a catch-all term I dreamed up for the purposes solely of post 64. I’m not wedded to it and I’m happy to drop it.
    ———————
    As an on-topic aside, all of this is of a piece with the question: how does “the Left” deal with the fact that there are activities which are legal and tolerated in north Africa, the Middle East and south Asia, which if carried out in, say, the UK, are criminal acts? And why is anyone surprised when someone who has been indoctrinated into those cultures comes to, say, the UK and expects to carry on, say, beating their wife just like they did in the good old days back home?

  80. StillGjenganger says

    @Ally 85
    Thios are indeed the right questions – and the left is indeed shying away from answering them – to everybodys detriment.

    1. What happened?
    2. Why did it happen?
    3. What can be done to minimise the risk that it ever happens again?

    I do have a niggle with this, though:

    They are offering answers to those questions which I believe are morally and politically wrong.

    Since all three are factual questions, what do you mean by saying the answers are ‘morally and politically wrong’? Do you mean the answers of the right are not true? Or do you mean they may well be true but that they should not be saying them anyway, because people might draw the wrong political conclusions?

  81. Ally Fogg says

    sonofroj (86)

    The only thing the left would be comfortable admitting is that civilised westerners are a BIGGER sexual violence risk than the immigrants from backward, patriarchal cultures.
    If that’s self-evident, then what you’re effectively saying is that “the Left” is a joke. You’re not saying that – are you?

    Yes, actually that is pretty close to what I am saying.

    Gjenganger (87)

    To be more precise, I meant that the answers given by the right to question 2 tend to be mistaken and the answers to 3 tend to be morally and politically wrong.

  82. Lucythoughts says

    Ally,
    On a slightly different track, do you know whether there has there been any effort to engage with Muslim women’s rights groups to try to answer your questions (#85)? And it seems very likely to me that female refugees must be much more at risk of these assaults than any other group in Europe and massively more at risk in over-crowded refugee camps in the Middle East and Africa. In the scramble to pretend that nothing is wrong here, has there been any effort made to see what their safety concerns may be?

    For what it’s worth, I also think that “keep them waiting at the borders until we can prove beyond reasonable doubt that they’re not rapists” is a really weird solution to this problem. In fact, I have as yet to hear the question that “collective punishment” is the right answer to.

  83. Ally Fogg says

    Lucythoughts – no, I’ve seen very little concern about the welfare and safety of migrant women within this (from either side).

    The narrative is strictly about white women being molested by brown men.

  84. Marduk says

    #54 etc.

    Ally, the data don’t exist because they don’t collect it. I suppose all we can note is that there is evidence but it is old evidence because for whatever reason, politicians have decided they don’t want to know. This isn’t meant as innuendo or conspiracy, it is just what the facts are, non-coding is a big deal and we’ve discussed this before in other guises (e.g., men who are victims of “violence against women and girls”). The Swedish MoJ did some very thorough work in 2005 for example and allowed for a range of variables even down to the 2nd generation of immigrants and the children of ‘mixed marriages’, but that is the last year they had data that made it possible.

    The stats don’t just happen to be inadequate by accident, this is not unknowable, we have chosen not to know it. What judgement you put on that is up to you of course.

    As to the ongoing lack of reaction from the left and the less than deft handling of culture as a concept, we’ve seen this before. Because sexual crime has a special place in feminist theory, they too have made it a special category not just of offence but of human action. It is the only form of crime that is only ever, without exception, carried out for structural reasons as political act with only one motivation and, again, uniquely, has no relationship to culture, mental health, substance abuse, education or anything else. Ironically it is owing to this construction that the attacks in Cologne are not discussed because they obviously couldn’t have happened, so they didn’t happen. We saw this in both the Guardian pieces and Laurie Penny’s bizarre claim that as men are all rapists (or benefit from rape, as a crime that is only even structural in nature, #yesallmen), only racists would bring up specific incidents because otherwise, as rapists, they wouldn’t have a problem with them otherwise.

  85. StillGjenganger says

    @Ally
    That comment about “white women being molested by brown men” is a bit cheap. If there is a change that puts you and yours at increased risk, you quite naturally worry about it and think about how it can be avoided. If somebody planned to increase the speed limit on my children’s road to school from 30 mph to 60 mph I would worry about my children’s safety. I would not think nearly as much about the advantages of decreasing traffic on the bypass, nor of the danger to theri health from sugary drinks, let alone the need for reducing the number of traffic accidents in Lagos – even though those might be bigger problems, overall.

  86. StillGjenganger says

    @Lucythoughts 89
    keep them waiting at the borders until we can prove beyond reasonable doubt that they’re not rapists” is disingenious (on the part of those who say it, not on your part). But the underlying point is actually sound in theory.

    Even back whe AIDS was a new disease, only a minority of active homosexuals ever had the disease. But the medical establishment still banned homosexuals from giving blood. The logic was simple.Homsexuals were thought to have a higher frequency of AIDS, back then, than heteros. Ban 100 homosexuals from giving blood,and you avoid maybe two tainted donations and half a dozen new cases oof AIDS. If you cannot identify the sources of contagion this is the only thing you can do. And it has nothing to do with collective punishment.

    For immigration you can get the same thing, by reasoning on the overall consequences. Bring in 50 000 refugees, and you can predict the costs of caring for them, the stress on your social systems and social coherence. You can also predict an increase in Cologne-type incidents of some order. It may be only say 500 of those people who would cause the problems, but you have no way of filtering them out ahead of time. Either you let in all 50 000 and get the asssociated problems, or you keep them out and save yourself some grief. Nothing to do with collective punishment.

    In general terms this is a perfectly legitimate way of reasoning.You should always consider the causes of various courses of action before you decide. If we look at the real-lifee consequences of immigration and conclude that letting in a group of people will cause major undesirable changes in our society, we have a right to try to avoid those problems. Where it falls down is that whatever we would like to do, those refugees are not goiing to disappear. We need to consider the consequences to the refugees as well as to us, and we cannot leave them to drown in the Mediterranean of starve in Syria.

    But whtever we do, I hope we can agree that we shoudl start by getting an honest and reality-based estimate of what the actual problems are going to be.

  87. 123454321 says

    “Seems fair enough. It was a catch-all term I dreamed up for the purposes solely of post 64. I’m not wedded to it and I’m happy to drop it.”

    Glad to hear you’re retiring that unhelpful, meaningless phrase back to the cesspit where it belongs. I can only hope the word “misogyny” and “patriarchy” follow soon as they are used far too often and mostly for all the wrong reasons!

  88. That Guy says

    @92- I think this is justified. The common trope is of the fragile white woman being ravaged by the savage foreigner, one that’s being played up by right-wing media.

    IF what some people are suggesting is true, and there is some cultural component to sexual assault- then it would make sense that the people on the brunt of this would be the women belonging to those cultural groups.

    UNLESS, of course, there is some perception about women from particular cultures or behave a certain way that makes them targets of assault from a particular culture specifically.

    But as is the usual story, we don’t have enough information to draw an accurate conclusion.

  89. StillGjenganger says

    @That Guy 95

    IF what some people are suggesting is true, and there is some cultural component to sexual assault- then it would make sense that the people on the brunt of this would be the women belonging to those cultural groups.

    Not necessarily. Suppose you are used to the idea that decent women are respectful and modestly clad – or, as a woman, are used to the idea that men pounce on any flaunted skin so you had better keep covered. Now put both groups in Cologne, teeming with women who are scantily clad, drunk, and showing lots of skin. As a man you might despisee them as sluts (which would be a likely conclusion if anybody behaved like that back in Karachi) or you might resent them because even though they are obvious sluts they are still not giving you any. Do you not think that the the harassment would go preferentially to the native Germans rather than the immigrant women, when both target groups were in range?

  90. Lucythoughts says

    #93 Gjenganger
    The AIDS analogy is very poor in this context. The point of giving a blood transfusion is to improve someone’s health or even save their life, in which case even a small risk of killing them with infected blood is unacceptable if it can be avoided and the cost of not accepting the blood is minimal.

    The choice here is stark; once refugees arrive in Europe you can try to process them and relocate them somewhere or you can leave them to accumulate at borders and try to simultaneously stop them getting through to the next country and keep them alive without the infrastructure to support them. It’s all very well for people to say “hang on, let’s stop any more refugees coming in while we weigh up the pros and cons” but the fact is, we have no options. Europe’s hand has been forced and although I agree that we have to consider the social costs and try to find ways of minimising them, at this point that is for the purposes of damage control, not because we have a choice about the outcome. We might as well say “we must consider the costs of all this flooding before we decide whether we want any more rain.”

    I also think that some of the arguments coming from the right have everything do to with collective punishment. Marduk’s poisoned M&M’s analogy examples (#22) seem to me to be a case in point. I hadn’t come across it before but it’s a perfect example of how to justify collective punishment in any context you please.

  91. Lucythoughts says

    #96 “Do you not think that the the harassment would go preferentially to the native Germans rather than the immigrant women, when both target groups were in range?”

    No, frankly. I think as a potential abuser you would already know that migrant women were unlikely to report even if they knew who to report to and that they were less likely to get any protection or to expect any because the very attitude “if you show some skin you’ll get assaulted” equates to “if you got assaulted you must have shown some skin” in many people’s minds. I think criminals go for soft targets and dispossessed women who have been separated from family, friends and community and may well not speak the local language are very, very soft targets indeed.

  92. StillGjenganger says

    @Lucythoughts
    There are two different poiints here.

    One is that all these refugees need to be helped, one way or the other. Morally we do not have the option of ignoring them, and so we shall be forced to do a number of things that we would prefer to avoid. On this I believe we agree.

    The other poiint is this thing about ‘collective punishment’, which I understand to mean that we do not have the moral right to refuse something to an entire group of people because only some of them are bad apples. Here I disagree. On the individual level I have every right to refuse to let someone in my home or to let them alone with my children (or to eat an M+M) even if it is just a probability that there is something wrong with the stranger. On a group level I have the same right to bar a group of people from immigration (or to refuse to eat 500 M+Ms) to avoid the problems it will cause. Even if it is only a few of the people who will cause the problems (or a few of the M+Ms that are poisoned). The problem is not whether a refusal is always wrong (it is not) but whether it is disproportionate. In the case of normal immigration we have a choice. In the case fo refugees, letting people die of hunger in camps is disproportionate to the risk of some additional rapes in the UK It would be perfectly moral to refuse entry to refugees if we could make sure they were properly cared for outside our borders. The trouble is that we cannot do that in practice.

  93. Adiabat says

    Ally (85): You’re right of course. It would be great to see the left have the honesty and integrity I remember from 20 years ago, following the evidence to reach the best position on a topic. But sadly I, and a growing number of people, just don’t expect it anymore. In fact I expect the opposite: taking an ideological stance and maintaining that stance against all evidence that reality doesn’t marry up to it.

    The issue is likely that they are the ones calling the shots now, and once a group is in power their focus changes to keeping that power and influence over doing the right thing. The counter-culture, the ones with nothing to lose from following evidence and reason to reach a position, seems to increasingly be moving further from the left. I’m seeing this sentiment being expressed more and more in recent years, usually by those on the left that have been alienated.

    Lucythoughts (89):

    For what it’s worth, I also think that “keep them waiting at the borders until we can prove beyond reasonable doubt that they’re not rapists” is a really weird solution to this problem.

    And so is the opposite: Ignoring the impact that letting millions of people, possibly with a high occurrence of regressive and misogynist views, into the EU will have on the safety of its people.

    I don’t think polarising the issue is helpful here; there are options between those two positions. Denmark and Sweden, of all places, seem to be trying to find a reasonable middle ground recently. The BBC actually reported on Sweden’s efforts on their Europe page, for about half an hour, before hiding the story in the depths of the site where no-one can find it.

    Ally (90):

    I’ve seen very little concern about the welfare and safety of migrant women within this (from either side).

    The narrative is strictly about white women being molested by brown men.

    Not true. This story (http://www.klassekampen.no/article/20160208/ARTICLE/160209950) covers rapes against under-18s in migrant centres. And this one (http://www.presseportal.de/blaulicht/pm/110978/3242617) covers a brawl at a migrant centre after a 22 year old Syrian man targeted a 15 year old Iraqi girl.

    I got both stories from the first few stories that were covered on Brietbart’s (of all places) live feed: http://www.breitbart.com/london/2016/01/29/migrant-crisis-live-wire/, and both incidents happened in the last couple of days. They also seem to be including any revenge attacks on migrants that are being reported. (The issue to keep in mind with using such feeds of course is that collating stories in one place can give a false impression of the situation, much like with the everyday sexism site, which just further highlights your point about the left needing to face up to the situation and give its own coverage. However to Brietbart’s credit it seems they aren’t just including stories that fit the narrative you described.)

    (97):

    Marduk’s poisoned M&M’s analogy examples (#22) seem to me to be a case in point. I hadn’t come across it before but it’s a perfect example of how to justify collective punishment in any context you please.

    The M&M analogy was originally a feminist argument to justify assuming all men are rapists, which has been supported by prominent feminists such as Laurie Penny and many at the Guardian (if I remember correctly). The point Marduk was making is that suddenly the progressive left can magically see the flaws in the argument now it’s being used against a left-protected group, and this behaviour is turning more and more people against them.

    The M&M analogy is wrong and unhelpful, but it should be wrong and unhelpful whichever “side” is using it.

  94. Lucythoughts says

    #99 Gjenganger
    I would say that you have a right to refuse to eat M&M’s whether you believe them to be poisonous or not. You have a right to refuse refugees also but a bad argument is still a bad argument. There will undoubtedly be bad apples amongst the refugee population but the same can be said of every other group coming into the country, including holidaymakers and the people coming in to prop up the NHS. It can also be selectively applied to every group within the country if you so wish. Saying, “we have no moral obligation” or “we don’t have anything to gain” does not turn a bad argument into a good one.

    It’s also (when applied by the people who have been rolling it out) highly disingenuous. In saying “if we take 10,000 refugees some of them could be criminals / rapists / terrorists and we can’t tell which” you are effectively saying that, if you could tell which, you would happily take in the other 9,900 or whatever the remainder. Coming out of the mouths of the right that is a gigantic lie. It is a bad excuse, selectively applied, to give people tools to justify what they already believe. That is my opinion anyway but I’m happy to agree to disagree on this.

  95. Lucythoughts says

    # Adiabat “The M&M analogy…. ”
    I read Marduk’s post and links and I think I understood them thanks. I can’t speak for Marduk but I rather thought he was saying that certain people on the left came up with this crappy, divisive argument and now we’re stuck with it. Whether that is turning more people off the left or off the right for that matter I do not know.

  96. Lucythoughts says

    #Marduck “FWIW I don’t think either of you have misunderstood or misrepresented me”

    Well that’s a relief, because as you can see we’re both huge fans 😉

  97. sonofrojblake says

    @Adiabat, 101:

    millions of people, possibly with a high occurrence of regressive and misogynist views

    But you can’t say that, even here. That is (to quote post 3), “ignorant racist shit”, apparently. Their occurrence of regressive and misogynist views is
    (a) irrelevant and
    (b) exactly the same or lower than ours
    (c) entirely unevidenced (the evidence of what the culture is like in the place where they’re from is apparently not admissible).
    So don’t mention it.

  98. That Guy says

    @sorjb

    no need to polish your racist victim complex. Turns out you CAN say these things!

    You have said them yourself, several times in fact! And lo and behold, your comments are still here!

    I’ve just done a google search of various politicians and UK based news sites, and it seems many people of great influence are also saying these things!

    Ally and others not falling for your nearly evidence-free man-in-the-pub style arguments is not the same as being metaphorically or literally gagged.

  99. Adiabat says

    Sonofrojblake (106): I’m shocked (shocked!) that someone on the left would fling unfounded accusations of racism towards someone with a view that goes against the lefts narrative and political aims. That almost never happens. /s

    Seriously though, it’s just another tactic to avoid having to face up to the situation and answer those difficult questions. Similar to the when people who accept things like the pretty much evidence-free wage gap, “Patriarchy”, “Rape Culture”, demand the ‘other side’ provide the strictest evidence for the most obvious and common-sense claims, or they’re “ignorant racist shit” (while of course failing to support their position on the subject).

    As you say, we can simply look at what the culture is like, specifically the attitudes towards women, in the places where the migrants are coming from for evidence. We can look at the stats Lucy provided, which while has its flaws that might influence it a few percentage points is still evidence. We can look at the influx of reports about things like student nurses who can’t even go to their school, where a 1400 capacity migrant camp is nearby, without being molested and apparently receiving comments such as “women who don’t wear the burqa are “sluts”” by groups of men: http://www.news4teachers.de/2016/01/schuelerinnen-wurden-sexuell-belaestigt-polizei-schuetzt-erste-schule/.

    Granted, none of this is absolutely conclusive (which is apparently the standard being demanded by those who want to avoid facing up to the situation): the stats have their flaws, news reporting can give distorted impressions of a situation, and simply being brought up in a country with a higher proportion of outright regressive, misogynist views doesn’t mean… something or other that totally doesn’t contradict what they say elsewhere about the Patriarchy or Rape Culture being responsible for all those jokes in TV shows making us all rapey misogynists (and all those bums! in video games “objectifying” women and causing white men to be all sexist and shit).

    Ideally we’d have some decent, high-standard, research to enable all of us to form opinions of what the best course of action to take wrt the migrant crisis. But in lieu of the left in the media and with influence actually admitting there’s a problem that needs investigating, never mind pulling their fingers out and commissioning the necessary research into it, what else do we have to go on? Their word that “everything’s going be fine”?

  100. Holms says

    #94 1234
    Glad to hear you’re retiring that unhelpful, meaningless phrase back to the cesspit where it belongs. I can only hope the word “misogyny” and “patriarchy” follow soon as they are used far too often and mostly for all the wrong reasons!

    Are you throwing the terms ‘SJW’ and ‘white knight’ out as well?

    #108 sonofa
    Pretty sure he knows what sarcasm is, what with his post #107 consisting almost entirely of it.

  101. 123454321 says

    “Are you throwing the terms……and ‘white knight’ out as well?”

    Are you kidding me! I seem to come across at least one of those fuckers every day! They are very, very real and also very, very nauseating, especially in a workplace environment where unfortunately you can’t ram the nearest chair leg up their starfish.

  102. StillGjenganger says

    @Sonofrojblake, That Guy

    I think we have an ambiguity here. You can say certain things without being put in prison, and without the Chinese police immediately removing your posts and closing your account. But you can NOT say those things without being shut out of the debate as an evil, disturbed person who should be disregarded on principle in mainstream debate.

    Now arguments that mostly consist of insults do tend to disqualify those who make them – there are examples on both sides of the debate on this blog. But one problem here is that there are facts and important (if maybe mistaken) points of view that are excluded from the debate on grounds of ideology and/or political tribalism. And that is bad.

  103. Holms says

    #112
    Yes, white knights are real (if much rare than claimed), but then so too is misogyny, which makes me wonder why that apparently needs retiring when the much more tiresome terms I mentioned are staying.

  104. 123454321 says

    “but then so too is misogyny”

    The word “misogyny” is overused and completely misunderstood. It appears that many crimes committed against women are classed as “misogyny” all too often by the media (especially the BBC) as well as many others who can provide little logic to substantiate the use of the word other than it sounds good and rolls of the tongue nicely. It also fits nicely with the overall narrative that all men are bastards. The same crimes whereby men are the victims enjoy no such similarity in relation to the use of the word “misandry”.
    I would imagine that many crimes labelled as “misogynistic” are committed by people who don’t hate women at all, but rather prey on vulnerability – a BIG difference.

  105. Carnation says

    @ 123454321

    “I would imagine that many crimes labelled as “misogynistic” are committed by people who don’t hate women at all, but rather prey on vulnerability – a BIG difference.”

    Well, hate crime doesn’t extend to misogynistic crime, yet, I’m quite sure the continuous lobbying efforts will be successful.

    And, of course, you’re right that much crime is directed against vulnerable people. usually committed, interestingly, by marginalised and weak/vulnerable people too.

    So would you describe an attack on a disabled person accompanied with disability related insults as a hate crime?

    So would you describe an attack on a person of colour person accompanied with racist related insults as a hate crime?

    So would you describe an attack on a gay person accompanied with sexuality related insults as a hate crime?

    So would you describe an attack on a female person accompanied with gendered insults as a hate crime?

  106. Carnation says

    @ 123454321

    Also, would you describe the appalling Rochdale assaults as hate crimes? And if so, racist? Misogynistic? Both?

  107. StillGjenganger says

    @Carnation 116

    If I can butt in, my answer to all your questions would be ‘not necessarily’.

    The murder of Steven Lawrence was a hate crime, because the main motive was hatred of black people (near as you can see).
    If some coked-up celebrity bashes a cloakroom attendant and calls her a ‘black bitch’, the main motive would be personal animosity (or cocaine-fuelled rage, take your pick), and the choice of insult is just whatever comes handy. That is not a hate crime.

    As for Rochdale, the best guess currently is that the abusers went for anybody who was female and vulnerable. So: girls, because they had what the prepetrators wanted (the robbery in Hatton Gardens was not antisemitic either, they just picked on whoever had money to steal). And mainly white, because the available victims were mainly white. On those assumptions it is not a hate crime either (though it is no less hateful for that).

  108. Carnation says

    @ GJGanger

    I think you’re mixing things up a bit. The character of the attacker doesn’t define the crime, the execution of the crime, does.

    Despite this, I accept that “not necessarily” can apply to many hate crimes – and I’m not entirely convinced that the legislation is helpful.

    So, Stephen Lawrence’s murder seemed to be basically an open and shut case.

    So, too, does the verbal and physical attack on the toilet attendant (in this instance, I would say that the attacker probably wasn’t a racist but committed a racist attack).

    I’ve got issues with your definition of the Rochdale attacks “”girls, because they had what the perpetrators wanted” – this isn’t the case. The victims were victimised because they were deemed less worthy of respect, humanity and decency than people of the attacker’s ethnicity. The belief systems of the attackers defined the attacks carried out. They were every bit as misogynistic as they were racist, whilst also being opportunistic.

    Many people have racist views; most of them don’t attack, or even actively discriminate, as a result of these views.

    @ 123454321

    A handy guide to the execution of hate crimes is whether the attacker is attacking a representative of a stereotype. For example, all Asians are Muslims so I’m going to attack a brown person after the Paris attacks. All white girls are easy, so I’m going to exploit this one. Women have constantly rejected me in the past, so I’m going to hurt one of them.

  109. StillGjenganger says

    @Carnation 119
    On Rochdale we disagree on the facts: I do not think it is proved that the perpetrators chose the victims because they were white, rather than because they were available. If it was proved that they attacked white (well, ‘white’) girls specifically because of their colour, that would make it a hate crime, yes.

    But more fundamentally, we disagree about the definition. I cannot speak to what the laws was supposed to mean. But it makes sense to say that you will have a special category of crime, and higher punishment, for crimes that are committed as part of a deliberate program of persecution. It does not make sense to say that a crime should be treated harder just because you use an insult that contains the word ‘black’ while you commit it. Indeed, I could use your own words against you on this one. “A handy guide to the execution of hate crimes is whether the attacker is attacking a representative of a stereotype.” The celebrity who attacked the toilet attendant was not attacking her as a representative of a black stereotype. She was attacking her as a mouthy bitch who dared stand in her way and refuse to cooperate or be sufficiently respectful. If Stephen Lawrence had been white, he would probably have been alive today. If the toilet attendant had been white, odds are that she would have got the same assault, but a different insult to go with it. Crime, yes, but why ‘hate crime’?

  110. Carnation says

    @ GJganger

    I said that I wasn’t entirely sure how helpful a hate crime category is, but nevertheless, I disagree on the following:

    “The celebrity who attacked the toilet attendant was not attacking her as a representative of a black stereotype.”

    But whilst attacking her, the insult she used was a racist one, with decades, if not centuries, if baggage that went with it. Had the physical attack not happened, just the verbal, would you have considered it a racist incident? If not, what would?

    The Rochdale (and similar) attacks are slightly harder to define, however, it’s undeniable that most of the perpetrators would not, as a group, have undertaken the systemic targeting and abusing of so many victims. That is not to say that they didn’t attack members of their own ethnic group, I’m quite sure they did, but it would have been the more “normal” patterns of familial abuse. What bonded the attackers in Rochdale was ethnicity and shared beliefs in the lack of worth in their victims – one group attacking another group having “othered” the victim group.

  111. StillGjenganger says

    @Carnation
    For me, ‘racially aggravated’ anything is only worth defining as such if you can show that it is part of a program of persecution. Anything else is just bad language. The obvious example is John Terry. From the available evidence he was just participating in a slanging match and picked the nearest available insult. It is really, really hard for me to see why his words should be any more criminal than the no less offensive words that Anton Ferdinand had sent his way first.

    This is just the standard dynamics of insulting people. You need something that is in some way disgusting and demenaning, something that sort of fits onto the target, and something that defines him as an outsider, as different from ‘us’ (which pretty much unaviodably means you go for whatever defines someone as a minority – because nothing else will work anywhere near as well). Most times you have to pick the components separately. If you say ‘fucking black cunt’ (as John Terry did), the main point of ‘black’ is to ‘outside’ Ferdinand – and ‘ginger’, or ‘greasy’ would have worked as well.

    If you are looking at the dynamics of the situation, it simply does not make sense to claim that ‘black’ puts that insult (or the assault we talked about earlier) in a different category of horror from ‘greasy’. One way around this would be to make insults illegal, per se. Most people would not want that. Alternatively you can decide that certain groups are too fragile to handle the insults that normally fly among people, and must be put in a special, protected category. Which will lead to the usual victim olympics where everybody fights to get the pretty arbitrary protections that comes from having a high victimhood score. My preferencew would be to keep the crtiminalisation for active persecution, and be ‘victimhood neutral’ for the rest.

  112. Carnation says

    @ GJganger

    I think the position you’re coming from is that John Terry is not a racist man.

    If, say, Nick Griffin, accosted a black toilet attendant, using the terminology that John Terry did, would you consider it a racist incident?

    PS – will write more on “a program of persecution later”

  113. StillGjenganger says

    @Carnation 123
    No. The problem is not whether John Terry or Nick Griffin is racist, but whether this particular action is intentional racial persecution. One side of that I would define ‘hate speech’ somewhere close to ‘incitement to violence’, or at least ‘collective denigration’. Insulting a single individual does not qualify. Another side is that if you kill someone, it does not matter whether you are a racist man, or whether you shout ‘black scum’ as you do it. If you kill him largely because he is black it is a hate crime. If you kill him because he is your wife’s current lover or because he is preventing you from robbing the till it is not. What insults you shout may serve as evidence, but it does not define the crime.

  114. Carnation says

    @ GJganger

    I think your argument stems from the school of thought that hate crime legislation shouldn’t exist, an argument I see some merit in. Like I said, I’m undecided.

    However…

    “For me, ‘racially aggravated’ anything is only worth defining as such if you can show that it is part of a program of persecution.”

    Let’s take the John Terry example. if the black player had been subject to similar chanting from the crowd on a daily basis, would that be a “program of persecution”? What about if he had experienced similar comments from police officers, people in the street, even teachers and pupils when he was at school?

    I think the legislation assumes that there is something of a “program of persecution” already at play – it’s called society.

    One of the reasons that I tend towards supporting this legislation is that I think it goes some distance towards eradicating acceptance of casual racism.

    That said, I think for all his flaws, John Terry isn’t a racist.

    However, I think the Chelsea fans on that train in Paris undoubtedly are and should have been severely punished.

  115. StillGjenganger says

    @Carnation 125

    Yes, I am close to thinking that hate crime legislation, as currently implemented, is a mistake.

    I think it depends on what you mean by ‘a program of persecution’. If John Terry or anyone else is deliberately persecuting black people, it makes sense to charge him with a particular crime based on this. If black people feel that everybody is persecuting them (possibly with justification) that is not something you can charge John Terry with – after all, it is not his fault what other people do. So if you want to use the law to stop racist insults, you would have to say explicitly that it is illegal to say certain insults, or to insult certain specific groups of people. Personally I do not think that would fly – just imagine : “You are not allowed to insult me I am black!”.

  116. 123454321 says

    “They were every bit as misogynistic as they were racist, whilst also being opportunistic.”

    Carnation, I can’t really add much to what StillG has said but I think your views (or at least interpretation) of events such as Rochdale are heavily influenced based on a typically feminist perspective. You dive straight in with the view that a crime against women must involve misogyny, like criminals do what they do to women simply because they hate women. In actual fact, I would completely reverse your statement above to the effect of placing the word “opportunistic” first and foremost, followed by a reference to the availability of vulnerable victims who just HAPPENED to be of a certain ethnicity or gender. Just because a victim is black or female doesn’t mean to say we are dealing with misogyny or racism – why can’t you (and everyone else) see that. But there’s no point in me saying any more as StillG has eloquently explained virtually the same position I hold.

    Like I said before, typical overuse of the words “misogynistic” and “crime” by today’s media who love nothing more than to use their media water canons to flood the clueless masses with bucketloads of feminist narrative caustic pungency. I mean, ‘misogynistic crime’ does sound really good, I have to admit. Let’s say it again – misogynistic crime, misogynistic crime, misogynistic crime, misogynistic crime. Actually one more time – misogynistic crime. Yeah, it does sound like a quality phrase and I can see why journalists want to use it all the time. Just a shame that most of these morons have no idea about conjunctive context and the inevitable contextual fear conditioning they are instilling across society!

  117. sonofrojblake says

    I think I can answer that. Post 64. I used it, as a throwaway and (I thought) self-explanatory shorthand for rape, sexual assault, stalking, threatening behaviour and all the other stuff some men do in part due to (hey!) Heteronormative Patriarchy being something they’re brought up with. I don’t believe I’d ever seen those two words put together in that order for that purpose before. Googling shows it’s not particularly common. /shrug/

  118. Carnation says

    @ sonofrojblake

    No, I did a Google search and it returned comparatively nothing.

    I think that @ 123454321 feels a lot more than he sees – he seems totally convinced that the media is at least in part designed to denigrate men. I sense that his outrage at the “overuse” of the term stems from him reading blogs that are similarly outraged at something that doesn’t really exist.

    The above is basically encapsulates the MO and tiny mindedness of the entire online MRM.

  119. 123454321 says

    “No, I did a Google search and it returned comparatively nothing.”

    post 116 written by Carny himself:

    “Well, hate crime doesn’t extend to misogynistic crime, yet, I’m quite sure the continuous lobbying efforts will be successful.”

    Slam dunk. And you’ll notice YOU were the first person to use the phrase since the discussion with sono. You must be loving the phrase already!

    In any case, the phase itself doesn’t necessarily need to be used by the media with those two words in conjunction in order to infer what we know they are trying to infer. The media (and feminist propaganda) repeatedly relates all sorts of crimes to misogyny and that in itself is quite often completely inaccurate as the crimes are committed against women, yes, (also often against men but shhhhh we cat talk about those as it destroys the narrative) not because the perpetrator hates women. Like I say, over recent years some people appear to relish the thought of using the word misogyny, even when it’s completely out of context with the intentions and outcome of the criminal/offence they’re talking about.

    “he seems totally convinced that the media is at least in part designed to denigrate men.”

    And I’m not wrong. They get away with it and make money from it. Women lap it up. Men don’t complain. Media makes more money…..

    “The above is basically encapsulates the MO and tiny mindedness of the entire online MRM.”

    Snore.

  120. Carnation says

    @ 123454321

    “Slam dunk” – eh… what?

    “The media … repeatedly relates all sorts of crimes to misogyny”

    Some examples of the “all sorts of crimes”, please?

    “Like I say, over recent years some people appear to relish the thought of using the word misogyny, even when it’s completely out of context with the intentions and outcome of the criminal/offence they’re talking about.”

    You’ve just described yourself.

    You *see* and *hear* media campaigns against men because you *want* to see and hear them – it feeds into your persecuted victim complex.

    You don’t understand media analysis. You are incapable of critical though, based on your exhortations on this blog.

    Your comments are like a parody of feminist media critiques of the late 80s/early 90s. I urge you to actually attempt a bit of scholarly analysis.

  121. 123454321 says

    “Some examples of the “all sorts of crimes”, please?”

    Well, Carny, it’s actually much worse than that. Not only are many of the crimes wrongly associated with misogyny (as StillG already explained) but advertising, music videos, games, comedy, TV, film…the list is endless…are regularly labelled as misogynistic by feminists and the media. Where as the same can’t be said when the boot is on the other foot i.e. when men are treated in exactly the same way, there is never a reference to misandry – or at least very, very rarely by mainstream media. An example would be, say, the game Grand Theft Auto where we’ve heard countless times how violence against the female characters is down to deep-rooted misogyny. But the violence against male characters in that game as well as others is totally ignored, and never referenced to misandry. Have you heard of Metal Gear Solid? Heard the feminists complaining about the depiction of Quiet (seriously badass female character)? You might have. But I bet you’ve never heard complaints about the scene where she seriously beats the shit out of a dozen men, stabbing them in their genitals and generally annihilating them and leaving them for dead.

    you said this:

    “You *see* and *hear* media campaigns against men because you *want* to see and hear them – it feeds into your persecuted victim complex.”

    I say this to you:

    You *refuse to see* and *refuse to hear* what can similarly be described as misandry against men because you *want* to refuse to see and hear it – it feeds into your persecuted, feminist victim complex by only focussing on what can be described as misogynistic, even when there is no tangible context to properly link the crime/offence to misogynistic hate. Oh wait, I keep forgetting that we don’t really need any proper form of logic when we’re dealing with the media and the word ‘misogyny’. We might as well just put everything bad that happens down to patriarchal misogyny. I suppose it’s a much easier life for everyone with that little scapegoat.

  122. Carnation says

    @ 123454321

    Why aren’t you complaining to Rock Star games about their depictions of violence against men?

    Why do you only complain about feminist critiques?

    You also acknowledged, through omissions, that your claims of the overuse of the term “misogynistic crime” are totally invalid.

  123. 123454321 says

    “Why aren’t you complaining to Rock Star games about their depictions of violence against men?”

    What a splendid idea. Care to join forces with me?

    Why do you only complain about feminist critiques?

    Because they claim they are all for equal rights, fair treatment, respect for everyone etc. But strangely they only apply their philosophy (which is great by the way) to half the population (those with a vagina). Which isn’t so great and in actual fact makes them look like self-centred, blatantly bigoted fools. Decades ago I thought I was the only person on the planet who recognised this but it turns out that potentially millions could be sailing the same boat. The wind has finally turned.

  124. Carnation says

    “What a splendid idea. Care to join forces with me?”

    No, even if I cared about these things (all depictions of violence in art-forms), I couldn’t possibly align myself with the type of scum that you’ve aligned yourself with.

    “Decades ago I thought I was the only person on the planet who recognised this but it turns out that potentially millions could be sailing the same boat. The wind has finally turned.”

    So you keep saying. But it hasn’t happened. You are lying to yourself, as much as others.

    Have a look at the Alexa ratings for your beloved blogs to see just how pathetic an audience they have. Then look at the most prominent figures espousing the views you care about. The very low volume, and incredibly low calibre, of these two crucial factors mean that your “potentially millions” will never be realised.

    It boils down to a few thousand loud, unpleasant, right-wing, reactionary, mostly apolitical, trolls (and their sock-puppets). And they have you, and yours: the useful idiots taken in by the childish rhetoric. Your only experience of politics/activism is commenting and blogging.

    And on the outer recesses of the internet you’ll stay, demanding, but failing, to be taken seriously.

  125. 123454321 says

    “No, even if I cared about these things (all depictions of violence in art-forms)…”

    But previously you’ve not held back with your views pertaining to the treatment of women in music videos/games. So you DO care about depictions of violence in art-forms, just not when it applies to men and boys, obviously.

    “I couldn’t possibly align myself with the type of scum that you’ve aligned yourself with.”

    I don’t align myself with scum; I align myself with logic, fairness and respect for all – something you seem entirely incapable of doing.

    The rest of your post is the usual expressions of incredulous guff we’ve all come to expect. Have a nice day.

  126. StillGjenganger says

    One weakness in the male rght position is that they do not always make clear what they actually want. They notice, quite rightly, that the violence againt women in videogames (e.g.) is treated quite differently from violence against men. Which is true enough. But what do we want to do about it? If the video violence is bad, we should applaud the feminists for fighting half of it, and join a campaign for banning violent video games, with gender-neutral rules. I would prefer to say that this kind of violence is something that gamers and game developerrs are free to use, and argue that the feminists should keep their noses out of other people’s harmless amusements.

    It is all very well to be offended about pro-female political bias. But we need to get beyond our offended feelings and make some clear cholices about where we want to go.

  127. Adiabat says

    StillGjenganger (138): You’re right that that is becoming a weakness in the male rights position. I think what’s happened is that the point of those arguments has become lost for some members of that group, and so they’ve taken them seriously.

    I’ve always interpreted the ‘violence against men in videogames’ argument as a demonstration that the feminist critique (in fact their entire methodology) is bull. The point isn’t to copy feminists and make men into an ‘oppressed class’ but to point out that cherry-picking examples to make an ideological, one-sided case doesn’t demonstrate any wider “problem” with video games. Anyone can build a case for nearly anything by doing this, it’s trivial; hence why it’s so easy to make a case that it is men that are the “real victims”.*

    It’s a counterpoint to the “but it’s just media criticism” argument (along with “the art form needs to grow up and be taken seriously” – when “seriously” appears to mean pretending that this stuff should even count as valid Criticism) when it doesn’t have any philosophical or epistemological basis.

    * Undergraduates in many courses engaging in “Criticism” of a Text are initially told that balance is important: you have to present both sides, and then conclude that maybe one side is stronger, or neither if that is the case (thus ensuring some separation of criticism and opinion and allowing any reader to conclude differently – this helps stop it becoming propaganda). It’s essentially ‘essay writing 101’. But for some reason as the student progresses this requirement appears to be required less and less (the argument made is often that it’s up to other academics to point out the “other side” – bullshit, and simply leads to factionalism and marginalising of “dissident academics” by those in positions of power within academia), with PHD students and professors writing books and giving speeches with no balance at all, or with blatant weak strawman counterarguments used to make their own ‘side’ seem stronger. For this reason most academic Criticism (and I’d include work like the tropes vs women series in this) simply isn’t Criticism at all, but opinion and propaganda of little value. And like you said, people should keep their opinion and ideologically driven propaganda out of other people’s harmless amusements.

  128. Adiabat says

    Lol, my asterisked ‘aside’ became longer than my main point. Perhaps I should stop reading Terry Pratchett because it must be causing bad habits 🙂

  129. Carnation says

    @ 123454321

    “But previously you’ve not held back with your views pertaining to the treatment of women in music videos/games. So you DO care about depictions of violence in art-forms, just not when it applies to men and boys, obviously.”

    No, I haven’t. You’re lying, or confused.

    Quite frankly, in the grander scheme of things, the depiction of VAW in video games is of negligible importance, even when discussing online misogyny.

    See also “video nasty” hysteria.

    Once again, I urge you to read feminist media critiques, such as those that followed 9 & 1/2 weeks.

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