Doing the ‘right’ thing


by Sunny
24th March, 2006 at 3:52 am    

The road to hell is paved with good intentions, it is frequently said. People want to do the right thing. Not good, or bad. Just the right thing.

Take the Danish imam Ahmed Akkari, who thought he was doing the right thing by sparking controversy over the Danish cartoons four months after they were printed, as an example. He ended up threatening to blow up a Muslim politician who did not agree with violent protests. [via David T]

One could also say the March for Free Expression people meant well, but it was inevitable the bigoted cartoons would attract bigots (though not mostly). Sensibly they have now asked protestors not to bring the cartoons but could it be too late? Anyway, they have my support now.

The students marching against Dr Frank Ellis mean well too I suspect, but I would prefer they didn’t. He is racist idiot who needs his head checked, but his freedom of speech also needs preserving.

I’ve written for Comment is Free on this which elaborates more, but the basic jist is – freedom of speech is an Asian / black person’s best friend in an unequal power relationship. Cherish it and protect it, don’t set bad precedents over idiots.


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Filed in: Civil liberties,Current affairs,Media,Race politics






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  1. Steve M — on 24th March, 2006 at 8:03 am  

    Ahmed Akkari took the cartoons to Egypt and Lebanon where he showed them to officials from the Arab league, academics and religious leaders, including the Grand Mufti of Egypt.

    Worse than sneaking off to the Middle East (a leading Danish cleric couldn’t deal with this problem in Denmark ?) Akkari added three additional and far more offensive cartoons to the collection. These extra cartoons showed Muhammad with a pig’s snout, a dog raping a praying Muslim and Muhammad as a pedophile demon.

    Akkari said that the extra cartoons were added as they had been sent anonymously to Danish Muslims and that they had been categorised clearly in that way. However, other journalists were not allowed to speak to the men receiving the Akkari’s dossier in order to clarify and confirm this. There is a strong suspician therefore that the 3 extra, offensive cartoons were added merely to inflame opinion.

    Sunny, if someone on this forum took offence at this post, added some insulting lines at the bottom (as an example of other anti-Islamic sentiment expressed on the forum) and took them to show Imans in the Middle East (rather than complaining to the forum moderators), would you say that they had done what they thought was right? Of course not.

    Similarly with Ahmed Akkari. No way was he acting out of good intentions or doing what he thought was ‘right’. That’s a ridiculous notion. He acted in order to deliberately inflame Muslim sentiment and was acting as the evil, murderous provocateur that he has subsequently been shown to be.

    Think about this Sunny. Perhaps you should now be moved to ‘do the right thing’.

  2. Sid D H Arthur — on 24th March, 2006 at 8:15 am  

    Some would call the MFFE decision to not allow the cartoon tshirts and anti-Islam banners as a U-turn. I’d call it a an epiphany that has reverted their taste and good old common sense.

    But what caused this change of tactic? Judging from the comments on the MFFE blog, there are a fair amount of disgruntled people who feel they’ve been left in the lurch by not being allowed to express their right to anti-Muslim and anti-Islamic vitriol. Now they have no choice other than the umbrella of the BNP (and erm, Harry’s Place) to express themselves.

    Peter Risdon: “The principle of freedom of expression is used, by some, as a trojan horse, as a proxy for racism and islamophobia. Not by me. Not by us. Not by this campaign.” No, no, Peter – of course not”

    And a comment on that blog post states: “Is cross burning a form of free speech?”

    Now I would be happy to march alongside a BNP skinhead on that march.

  3. David T — on 24th March, 2006 at 8:26 am  

    What was the “right thing” Ahmed Akkari was trying to do? What were his “good intentions”?

    At best, what Ahmed Akkari set out to do was to obtain the support of failing authoritarian regimes and islamist politicians, to prevent people in secular states from exercising their right to express their views.

    When he ended up discussing the bombing of a moderate Danish muslim politician, he was simply re-iterating the same species of threats. This isn’t where he ended up. This is where he started off!

    In what way, shape or form is any of this the “right thing” to do?

  4. Chris — on 24th March, 2006 at 9:34 am  

    Yes – it’s very difficult to suggest that Ahmed Akkari was trying to do the “right thing” at any point.

    Your point about free speech is obviously correct.

    But you still seem to be tying yourself in knots (i.e. describing Ahmed Akkari as trying to do the “right thing”) by wanting both to defend free speech and to condemn the publication of the cartoons.

  5. Tim Sewell — on 24th March, 2006 at 10:44 am  

    Akkari, in his actions even before his unfortunate attempts at, ehrm, humour, struck me as another of the growing constituency who, for whatever reason, are trying to stir up as much tension between the islamic and secular worlds.

    He was then used by those failing authoritarians in yet another of their (largely successful) attempts to shore up their tottering regimes by appearing to represent the views of the ‘Muslim street’ which, in fact, they are deperately trying to suppress for fear of being forcibly replaced by Islamist forces.

  6. Jay Singh — on 24th March, 2006 at 11:16 am  

    But you still seem to be tying yourself in knots (i.e. describing Ahmed Akkari as trying to do the “right thing”) by wanting both to defend free speech and to condemn the publication of the cartoons

    Sunny is wrong on Akkari. Given the context it is difficult to see that Akkari didnt want to create serious trouble. At best you could say he was naive to the point of stupidity. At the worst that he was a nasty provocateur.

    But I am perplexed by your assertion that Sunny is tying himself in knots by defending free speech whilst condemning the publication of the cartoons. Can you explain that please? I see no contradiction there at all. Unless you are working on some gross ‘you are either with us or without us’ logic. Support these cartoons now or else don’t support freedom of speech at all.

    Given the Muslim baiting that the cartoons have come to represent in some areas, especially with the BNP using them as recruiting material, I don’t see any contradiction there at all. Please inform us as to why you do. Note, that Sunny is, I presume, speaking specifically about the cartoons in their current context.

  7. Chris — on 24th March, 2006 at 11:41 am  

    Just on the BNP point, I somehow doubt that the cartoons (only a couple of which – without re-opening the debate – could really be described as ‘offensive’ or ‘bigoted’) would now be being used as part of a BNP campaign if the worldwide ‘backlash’ had not been so ludicrously disproportionate.

    So of course, *now* it is more difficult to say ‘it’s only a bloody cartoon”…although of course when originally published it was only a bloody cartoon!

    (Of course the BNP would be using some other material in the same way…)

    So if that’s what you mean by ‘current context’ I can (just) see the point.

    I was referring to what I may be wrongly perceiving as Sunny’s rather ambiguous position throughout the debate on the original publication in Denmark (which of course none of us had heard of until the protests).

    His position seemed (to me – I may be wrong) to be in a nutshell “free speech, but not in ‘bad faith’ …”.

    The fact that he is now very bizarrely invoking the “good intentions” of Akkari seems to me to be a symptom of this ambiguity.

  8. Jay Singh — on 24th March, 2006 at 11:48 am  

    Chris

    Sunny will have to speak for himself on that issue but his general point is true. in the last line:

    but the basic jist is – freedom of speech is an Asian / black person’s best friend in an unequal power relationship. Cherish it and protect it, don’t set bad precedents over idiots.

  9. Chris — on 24th March, 2006 at 11:52 am  

    As I said in my first comment – obviously right!

  10. Kulvinder — on 24th March, 2006 at 12:11 pm  

    Its an incredibly idiotic decision, if they can show the lecturer is displaying bias they may have a point, but last time i checked even half-witted universities in the north gave their students identity numbers that allowed the work to be marked anonymously. The students that protest are nothing but rebels without intelligence or a cause. They may as well take all his academic work put it in the middle of the university and set fire to it.

  11. raz — on 24th March, 2006 at 12:34 pm  

    It is fucking HILARIOUS to see the whining going on about the decision to ask for ‘no cartoons’ at the march for free expression. Check out the comments on their website after making this announcement. It also highlights how out of touch many of the ‘leftists’ of Harry’s Place et al are. Have they ever wondered why their comments sections attracts such foaming at the mouth hatred.? It’s all very well claiming to be against fundamentalism and ‘criticising ideologies not races’, but its pretty ovbvious much of the Anti-Islamic sentiment going about these days is nothing but plain old-fashioned bigotry. People have made much of ‘the left’ getting into bed with Islamists – well it seems they are just as busy getting into bed with the right wing as well :)

  12. Siddhartha Singh Muslim — on 24th March, 2006 at 12:40 pm  

    Well Leeds is my alma-mater. And I can tell you that there was some horrific race-politics going on amongst the lecturers at the Engineering faculty.

    Some of the lecturers were just old skool racists and would often openly make comments about blacks and Asians. African students were marked down, followed by Chinese/Malay foreign students.

    Sad to see that that legacy of shite has been carried on.

  13. Jay Singh — on 24th March, 2006 at 12:49 pm  

    There is a shovel full of shit on HP’s comments board for sure. Planty of Little Green Nazi supplicants spend time there. Happilyy, some of them, for example the dunce called Tomahawk, detest Pickled Politics – and I think it is a good thing to inspire fear and hatred in pissants like that, it please me.

    However, I would not characterise Mr T and his friends in that way. I think they do some good work, even when I disagree with them. But its only fair to say that if they call some on the Left for getting into bed with theocratic fascists they should also be aware that some on the Left are bending over for rednecks too.

    The whole world has gone crazy.

  14. Sunny — on 24th March, 2006 at 1:29 pm  

    I think you guys mis-understood what I wrote above.

    The ‘doing the right thing’ is not from my perspective, it is from the perspective of the people involved.

    So Ahmad Akkari, the bigoted twat that he is (and I’ve written about the extra cartoons before on here Steve) – was in his own mind trying to do the right thing by raising the profile of apparent danish racism against Muslims. But in his over-zealous mission he ends up threatening others and making up stuff as he went along.

    I’m not stating these people did the right thing, I’m stating these people in their own minds started something with the intention (in their own minds) that they were doing the right thing.

    Maybe I should have been a bit more clearer….

  15. Steve M — on 24th March, 2006 at 1:51 pm  

    Good Morning, Sunny.

    Don’t you think that if he was doing the right thing (in his own mind) when he raised the profile of the cartoons then he was also doing the right thing when he threatened to blow up the moderate?

    When would someone not be doing the right thing?

  16. Sunny — on 24th March, 2006 at 2:10 pm  

    In his twisted mind I’m assuming he’s always thinking he’s doing the right thing. That is why his road goes to hell :)

  17. Jay Singh — on 24th March, 2006 at 3:06 pm  

    On Harry’s Place they are having a full blown discussion on the thread about the march about the genetic inferiority of black and African people featuring seanT and others. Like I said, that place attracts shovel loads of shit.

  18. Marc — on 24th March, 2006 at 3:30 pm  

    Dr. Frank Ellis is right when he says there is a persistent gap in IQ scores among some races and ethnicities. Ashkenazi Jews score the highest, with a mean IQ of 115, then East Asians (mean IQ: 105), white Europeans (100), Arabs (90) and Blacks (85). I’m a white European, so am I racist against other white Europeans by pointing out that Jews and Asians score hgher, on average, than white Europeans do?

    Anyway, here’s something you might want to reflect on. One theory for the divergence in IQ scores between whites and blacks in America is better nutrition among whites. If this or some other environmental factor is the cause, then don’t we owe it to blacks to start some sort of campaign to addres the issue and bring their IQ scores up to the white average? I would say we do. There’s no reason blacks shouldn’t fully enjoy the privileges of modern society. Unfortunately, such a campaign could never come about because “progressives” like yourself pounce on anyone who even points out the differences in mean IQ as “racist”.

  19. Steve M — on 24th March, 2006 at 3:33 pm  

    It looks like the game is up tough. Gene has just posted:

    As much as I can manage, I’m going to be deleting every comment which promotes the idea of genetic differences in intelligence among races.

    I would ask other commenters not to engage with those who post such comments.

    I doubt that commenter-for-commenter HP is any worse than many other blogs. I suspect that it’s the nature of the beast. Even this bastion of equality and tolerance (PP in case anyone doesn’t recognize the description) has its moments. ;-)

  20. Don — on 24th March, 2006 at 3:34 pm  

    IQ is irrelevant. Everybody knows the chief differentiation between races is penis size.

  21. Steve M — on 24th March, 2006 at 3:40 pm  

    … and that’s just the women.

  22. Kulvinder — on 24th March, 2006 at 3:50 pm  

    IQ is irrelevant. Everybody knows the chief differentiation between races is penis size.

    you just made me snort my tea out of my nose :up:

    :)

  23. Sunny — on 24th March, 2006 at 3:54 pm  

    haha! nice one steve, on both counts. I find the debate on racial intelligence hilarious.

    Chris Dillow opened this can of worms recently too. That links to a paper showing negligible differences in intelligence.

    Anyway, Comment is Free has just published my article on the website here. Please go there and post your comments too!

  24. Jai — on 24th March, 2006 at 4:18 pm  

    =>”Everybody knows the chief differentiation between races is penis size.”

    Even more than that, I’m afraid it’s the length of time it takes you to grown some “proper” stubble after shaving in the morning.

    If, like some of us *clears throat*, you can manage to have “lunch-time shadow” (as opposed to mere floppy-wristed “5 o’clock shadow”), then you know you really are a true icon of virile, testosterone-fulled, masculine, manly man’s man manliness.

    ;)

  25. Siddhartha Singh Muslim — on 24th March, 2006 at 4:32 pm  

    I used to feel real inadequate at school. Then I realised all my compadrés were West Indian. Rarse Klaart! I’m normal!

  26. Siddhartha Singh Muslim — on 24th March, 2006 at 4:37 pm  

    You can delete my comment Sunny, but ‘arry’s Place comments box is still a pissoir.

  27. seanT — on 24th March, 2006 at 9:37 pm  

    Call me an old softy, but I object – Jay Singh – to being referred to as a ‘shovel load of shit’, or even talking the same.

    Here, to reiterate, is a post I made on HP which most comprehensively sums up my position on Ellis/IQ etc. If you still think I am a ‘shovel load of shit’ after reading it, fair enough!

    BTW the post is in reply to a comment made by Luniversal. who, whatever you think of him, is not unsmart. And therefore needs rebutting.

    Viz:

    “Luni. Heh. You may have some nutty views, but I do admire your articulacy sometimes – and I would also admire your candour. That is, if you didn’t bloody comment ANONYMOUSLY.

    I post in my own name, unlike you, you invertebrate. Therefore it makes more sense for me to be circumspect on contentious issues. Cause I don’t want to get harrassed and killed by the attack dogs of the Left, who have destroyed people on this issue – IQ.

    But actually – whether you choose to believe me or not – I really am in the painful middle on this issue. Like you, I have read the data, on both sides. Jensen and Gould, Eysenck and Lewontin, Rushton and Rose. Like you, I find the Darwinian/evolutionary psychology side simply more convicing. Unlike you, I do not find it wholly convincing. The Flynn Effect has no bearing on race, of course – but to me it does throw the whole IQ system into doubt. Can it really be true that IQs have risen by 30 points (or whatever) in thirty years? I simply don’t believe it. Therefore that seems – to me – to centrally undermine the tests themselves. What the hell are IQ tests testing, if the results can be so labile?

    However, there is still so much hard data on the other side – what you call the ‘race realist’ side – and some would call the ‘racist’ side – that I remain conflicted. Racial skull size difference exists, for instance. Gould tried to pretend it didn’t. But it does.

    But actually ‘racial skull size differentials’ are a good case for my final point. What does the average sensible person think when they hear a scientist say ‘racial skull size differentials’ – they think, fuck, here’s a Nazi. And quite right too.

    Unlike you, I don’t think we can ignore the terrible usage that ‘race science’ has been put to in the past, by the most evil men to walk the globe. I am pretty fucking religious, I believe in the sacredness of man, the individual and indivisible worth of every human soul, therefore I am pained by science that does – on an emotional level – seem to devalue people by category and race. Moreover, we live in a multiracial and globalising world, and simply barking out the data is not good for anyone. Yes, I used to enjoy rehearsing the data, cause it wound up lefties (whose havering on Free Speech I despise) – now I’m not so sure.

    Ultimately, however, I think we must be allowed to rehearse and investigate these issues, not least because one day – if we let them – geneticists might come up with some science that finds the genes for intelligence and then we can all, black white yellow or tartan, be as smart as Sir Clive, or you. For that reason alone it depresses me to see academics hounded on this issue.

    And that’s my apologia. I keep trying to shut the F up about IQ. But it keeps recrudescing. Perhaps it is one of those litmus issues of the day.”

    There. Feel free to compare me to buckets of ordure now, if you wish. But I needed to get that across.

    Pip pip!

  28. Sunny — on 24th March, 2006 at 10:14 pm  

    Sean – can you post some links to articles you’ve written on the subject?

    The crux of your arguments seems to be that you don’t believe in IQ tests. Neither do I. But for different reasons.

    But, as many have pointed out, the Bell Curve has been repeatedly refuted by others and Ellis isn’t simply trying to have a debate – he really is a racist SoB who says the BNP are too socialist. So by all means have a debate, but by putting it in the Ellis context you open yourself up for abuse.

    By the way, in my previous thread I’ve linked to an article above on Stumbling and Mumbling blog that refutes racial differences in intelligence.

  29. seanT — on 24th March, 2006 at 10:42 pm  

    Sunny, hi.

    To be honest I’m not SURE I believe in IQ tests or not. The Flynn effect devalues them, but there is lots of other evidence that they are predictive of later success in life.

    My best way of putting it is that I think they measure something that does help you get on in late capitalist societies. Calling it intelligence loads the debate, and brings in specious themes of inferiority or superiority, and worse.

    Anyhoo. Here’s a piece I wrote on the subject for the Spec. Not sure how to do links here. so if it doesn’t work just cut and paste the addy.

    http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3724/is_200305/ai_n9238342

    The rather offensive title was not mine! thank Boris Johnson for that. These days i would probly finesse my conclusion a little as well – i’m slightly less convinced of the overall validity of IQ – after doing a Guardian interview with Flynn himself.

    But I stand by my summation of the ‘IQ wars’ themselves.

  30. Sunny — on 24th March, 2006 at 10:47 pm  

    Ok, I just moved my article to the other thread…. anyway.

    My best way of putting it is that I think they measure something that does help you get on in late capitalist societies.

    Exactly, and they’re very culture specific too, which is why I also agree calling them measures of intelligence tells us nothing.

    I don’t have a real problem with having the debate, I just know that the people who try and start it or use it for their own purposes are usually rabid little racists.

  31. douglas — on 24th March, 2006 at 11:35 pm  

    Sunny,

    I think I am right in saying that the most successful cohort at British Universities are Asian women. Either the Bell Curve is a nonsense, or alternatively, it is a nonsense.

    Please correct me if I am wrong about this. Perhaps we’ve done research on other successful groups such as priveleged schoolboys. But that would not be quite the same thing now, would it.

  32. douglas — on 24th March, 2006 at 11:40 pm  

    Sunny,

    And btw I do agree with the commentators here that Ahmed Akkari is more of a shit stirrer than a ‘path of good intentions’ fall guy. Although I’d obviously die fighting for your right to be wrong – for once. :)

  33. seanT — on 24th March, 2006 at 11:45 pm  

    The most successful cohort at British Universities are almost certainly Jews. Followed by East Asians and whites. As predicted by the Bell Curve.

    That is certainly how it pans out at British schools.

    Doesn’t mean it’s right though.

  34. douglas — on 25th March, 2006 at 12:01 am  

    seanT,

    Point taken about the Jews. Despite spending half my time on Harry’s Place. Mea Culpa.

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