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  • Technorati: graph / links

    Treating everyone equally


    by Sunny
    12th October, 2006 at 4:24 pm    

    In an interview with Australia’s ABC, British academic and Spiked-online writer Munira Mirza lays out how I feel on the issue of “multiculturalism”.

    I’m advocating a political climate where people can have their private differences freely, that they are able to practice their religion, speak their chosen language, but that we also have a public space, where people are expected to transcend those differences, where people are expected to engage not just with people in their tribe, or their community, but with the broader society.

    And I think that that doesn’t mean that individual cultures are destroyed, or damaged. I think that you can have many different cultures; you can have many immigrants from different countries coming to live in one place.

    But at the same time there needs to be something that binds us together. There needs to be some focus for solidarity, which is more than just culture.

    Agreed. Then she makes a criticism of the attitudes towards British ethnic minorities too.

    And too often I think, certainly in the UK and in other countries as well, people are given a voice or given a political platform purely on the basis of their ethnicity, on their colour, or their background, rather than because they actually have something important and worthwhile to say.

    And I think of all people this does a big disservice to ethnic groups, because it tends to label them and pigeonhole them. Not all Muslims think the same thing, they have very different opinions on things like the war in Iraq or on faith schools or on freedom of speech.

    All of which I agree with. We have consistently argued on here that Britons of all colour need to be treated as Britons and not as special interest groups because it inevitably gives more power to gate-keepers (meaning so-called “community leaders”) while stifling dissent within those groups.

    But we should not be surprised that this situation has arise. There are three broad reasons:

    1) It is the government that encouraged and supported the setting up of umbrella groups that claim to represent communities. This has then been aided and abetted by the media, who go out on a hunt to found outraged community leaders every time there is the smell of controversy. The silly furore over Brick Lane filming being a perfect example.

    2) Competing religious and race based groups are also inevitable when the government has been so slow to tackle institutional racism. 30 years ago it outlawed discrimination on the basis of race. But as the Stephen Lawrence enquiry and the BBC documentary Secret Policeman showed, people have continued to drag their feet over implementing recommendations to challenge racism within government institutions.

    3) We do need a more meritocratic society. Britain is still very much driven by class differences and they are becoming more, not less perpetuating, especially in politics, media and education. This makes it harder for some minority groups, who are overwhelmingly working class, to get very far.

    In this regard the United States is a much better model to follow, where hard working ethnic minorities can get further than the UK, as many people on both sides of the Atlantic repeatedly point out. This nepotistic culture then encourages groups to form organisations and loudly demand a bigger share of the pie.

    My point is this then. The struggle for any Briton from an ethnic or religious minority is a struggle for everyone: that people are judged on the basis of their ability not who they know or where they studied.


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    1. Nyrone — on 12th October, 2006 at 6:33 pm  

      I think she has a wonderful way of crystallizing what should be clear and simple in the first place. I agree with a lot of what she says (as I’m sure other people will too) but what I want to know is how is one is to practically exemplify these examples in their everyday life? It’s all fine to discuss ‘the human family’ but let’s get down to the progressive, specific instances…..

      I find that other people lock themselves into groups based on nationalism and tribe when they find that others have a different and unfamiliar approach to them. How are we to totally respectfully accept about others what we secretly dislike? I notice a lot of people pick-and-choose what they like about cultures selectively, and this means that they love ‘cultural’ stuff like Curry, bright Saris, loud Bollywood music and frantic festivals, but will have problems with the less ‘happy’ traits of the culture that might involve the way people interact with each other daily, the kind of jokes they might tell and the way they may deal with regular issues. Many people will then have an uncomfortable feeling of being isolated in a group of people who share a different culture. From my experience, lots of Indians will happily talk in their respective language when someone who can’t speak that language is present. Shouldn’t we be much more inclusive of people from other cultures and races, instead of prattling in our own little ‘clubs of exclusivity’?

      Likewise, there are some people who think they ‘know’ about foreign cultures because they have had Italian Pasta, Thai Food and Chicken Vindaloo….as if the food gives them an oversight of an entire civilization. Everyone can like the food, but why can’t we get on with each other and when should we try to apply some form of change? I’m an Indian guy and I hate it when I walk down tooting and see loads of Tamil people spitting and littering on he side of the street, what shall I do with my feelings here? I find myself subconsciously binding Tamils to spitting, which is of course wrong…but a stereotype is there for a reason…

      Why is it that we find it so hard to agree with other people’s opinions when they differ from ours? Because an amplification of that question presents us with the dilemma we are in…and oddly enough, I find that a microcosm of this conflict can be found daily in our homes, at our schools and in our supermarkets.
      How do we learn to accept what we don’t agree with?
      Where is the line to be drawn?

      The comments in red reminded me of the absolute commonsense things that Tariq Ramadan will say about embracing this country, and accepting and being proud to be participants within this country. He also points to our multiple shifting identities and how we must make a distinction between the ‘political’ and ‘religious’ reasons for our actions. But, how do we extend these comments to tackling xenophobia on our very doorsteps? And should we be pro-active in the first place? Why should I have to ‘go out’ and ‘show’ other people that I’m a nice little ‘non-extreme’ Muslim?
      I would like to counter-balance the ‘extreme’ representation we have in the media, but not by shifting to one side of the scales.

      ….and while I agree with comments made about the US, I think a lot of people would claim that many Americans have been forced to not integrate, but assimilate…
      I disagree with that, and you can see that when you watch some American Islamic scholars like Hamza Yusuf or even programmes like this, about Islam in America, you can see they have been phenomenally successful in retaining their religion while being enormous contributors to general society.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05b3-XxQTNU

      I also like how the first Muslim Democrat in the US recently replied to an interviewer who asked him about being the “first Muslim in the house” or something to that effect.

      He replied that he did not wish to bring his religion to the forefront of his campaign, and insisted he was campaigning as:
      “An American who just so happens to follow the religion of Islam”

      I liked that response a lot.

    2. Refresh — on 12th October, 2006 at 6:49 pm  

      Nyrone, good video - I saw the original 30-Days program, so good to see this. Fits in very nicely with a number of threads live and kicking on Pickled Politics only.

    3. soru — on 12th October, 2006 at 9:57 pm  

      Why is it that we find it so hard to agree with other people’s opinions when they differ from ours?

      You are lucky. I find it hard to agree with other people’s opinions even when they are the same as mine.

    4. El Cid — on 12th October, 2006 at 10:38 pm  

      Ha. You may have to give even The Daily Mail a hat tip tomorrow. That’s some front page they have.

    5. Don — on 13th October, 2006 at 12:03 am  

      soru,

      Wildean.

    6. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 13th October, 2006 at 12:16 am  

      I’m advocating a political climate where people can have their private differences freely, that they are able to practice their religion, speak their chosen language, we also have a public space, where people are expected to transcend those differences

      Does that include not dressing up as a ninja and frightening children when in public, but it being fine to do so at home should it makes you feel closer to your God?

      Isn’t the wisdom here that outside one ought to focus on being close to your fellow man instead of your God?

      This is by far the best article I’ve seen on PP for some time, well done Sunny.

      Cheers,

      TFI

    7. Nyrone — on 13th October, 2006 at 12:59 am  

      @friendly

      exactly. Where does the real-world tolerance threshold lie?

      It’s fine to use ‘broad’ themes to stress all-encompassing points, but what about practical debates on specific issues?

      What is a fully-functioning tolerant society?
      and are there any existing models available?

      I certainly thought Malaysia was suprisingly well-intergrated when I was there with Indians, Malays and Chinese really acting like brothers and sisters and scolding me for asking them if they considered themselves Indian-Malay, which they responded to by saying:

      “Look, we are Malay…we are all just Malay. Why do you call yourself British-Asian? You are British!”

      …but then I was told the flipside of this intercultural harmony, for all the smiles, if you hold a placard on a high-street that is a protest against the war in Iraq, you would be arrested!
      What a cop-out!

    8. Nyrone — on 13th October, 2006 at 1:07 am  

      ps: banning a piece of cloth because it might scare children is the worst point for an argument I’ve ever heard.

      What’s next? A ban on halloween masks, punk hairstyles, tatoos, Amish wear, beards, contact lenses..you get my point.
      I reckon the veil should naturally dissolve because it is essentially anti-woman’s rights and sets women back a hundred years.

      However, what right do I have to ban cloths because they “offend or scare” me? after all, I personally still feel rather “offended and scared” when I see skeletal 12-year olds dressed in hotpants wearing FCUK ME T-shirts possibly on their way to getting pregnant. But hey, freedom to express oneself is great, right?

    9. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 13th October, 2006 at 1:49 am  

      I was on the tube and this woman coming up the stairs barged into this women in front of me. They exchanged a few words and started to throw the f word at each other. As they separated the women in front of me, turned and said “you don’t expect it from your own, do ya?” I replied “what white trash?”.

      Nyrone, what you described there is white trash, dole scum, a benefit bitch. Her clothes are embracing that stereotype. Historically we in the UK, had the occasional war with france to cull their numbers, but today we tell them that they victims of their economic standing and they only need to aspire to be Jade or as well educated as the contestants on celebrity love island.

      Ban the veil and the hoody for security reasons alone.

      Educate the masses.

      TFI

    10. bikhair aka taqiyyah — on 13th October, 2006 at 2:03 am  

      TheFriendlyDisbeliever,

      “Does that include not dressing up as a ninja and frightening children when in public, but it being fine to do so at home should it makes you feel closer to your God?”

      For the childrens sake? Are you for real? Hey why not get some of those lad mags covered up with brown paper so the children dont see exposed titts and ass in such a provocative manner. Dont drag the children into this when this is only about what does and doesnt bother you as if some adult Muslim woman, or any woman should give a crap. You dont like it, either shut up and move along, gather the couraged to tell her (not when her men folk are around ofcourse) or move to Turkey where they dont have these issues. Dear you cant have it both ways, either you live in one of those strange liberal socieities thats allows for these kinds of things or you move to ninja free Turkey. How about your intergrate?

      “Isn’t the wisdom here that outside one ought to focus on being close to your fellow man instead of your God?”

      What crap. Which man do we have to be close to? The ones that look like you or the ones that look like themselves?

      “This is by far the best article I’ve seen on PP for some time, well done Sunny.”

      Oh Puhlease, I’ve read more interesting things on the back of a soda can.

      Listen, I understand as a White Western man, I assuming, you must constantly have your superiority celebrated and reinforced especially by your non White non Western counterparts but something strange happened that there are these crazy peoples who think just as highly of themsleves and thier strange religion as you do yours. Crazy huh? Whats worse is that thier comparative poverty, disadvantages, and alienation hasnt shown them otherwise. The nerve of these people.

      Anyway enough of your narcisism. You may need a wife or something if your condition gets any worse.

    11. Sunny — on 13th October, 2006 at 2:07 am  

      Oh Puhlease, I’ve read more interesting things on the back of a soda can.

      You never read any of my articles anyway! Ungrateful woman.

      TFI - What you’re suggesting is quite illiberal, and goes against why Britain is a wonderful place.

    12. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 13th October, 2006 at 2:49 am  

      Bikhair, you must remember that due to Hong Kong cinema a lot of people, not just children, are afraid of ninjas. Go throw your stones at someone else.

      Sunny, you are right but there is a history of people exploiting the veil to get about undetected posing as a women, from Michael Jackson to OBL.

      As soon as this terrorism nonsense is over we can put it back.

      Britains Liberism isn’t defined by freedom of clothing is it?

      Also don’t we know that Britains liberalism has created more radicalisation?

      Liberalism and multiculturalism work well when everyone plays fairly, the fact of the matter is that we have a selfish player that is ruining the party for all of us. This player believes that they have a better system than multiculturalism, but yet choose to hide behind it.

      “Desar you cant have it both ways, either you live in one of those strange liberal socieities thats allows for these kinds of things or you move to ninja free Turkey.”

      She likes liberal societies when it is continent.

      What I liked about the comments in this interview is the emphasis that we should all make an effort to get on in public and make sacrifices. Considering that all non-Muslims find the veil odd, or challenging at the very least, and many Muslims don’t think much for them either, a small token effort to reduce their use won’t be a huge sacrifice as you can honor your god in many ways.

      TFI

    13. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 13th October, 2006 at 2:51 am  

      You never read any of my articles anyway! Ungrateful woman.

      To busy reading soda cans apparently.

      Mind you, you can find god in the oddest of places.

      TFI

    14. Nyrone — on 13th October, 2006 at 2:53 am  

      Sunny, while you are here…

      That piece on CIF about not wanting to be a political football was excellent.
      Judging from the responses, I’m sure we’ll see the very first ‘Hundal’ fanclub popping up soon…

    15. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 13th October, 2006 at 2:54 am  

      She likes liberal societies when it is continent.

      Now did i mean continent, incontinent or convient?

      They all work when you are taking the piss.

      TFI

    16. Nyrone — on 13th October, 2006 at 2:56 am  

      infed..

      You’re right about that!
      Have you seen that ‘picture’ of Jesus engraved into a blueberry muffin?

      someone, somewhere worships that muffin.

    17. Sunny — on 13th October, 2006 at 4:05 am  

      Nyrone - thanks… I’m not so sure about the fanclub though, the CIF crew can be pretty ruthless.

      TFI:
      As soon as this terrorism nonsense is over we can put it back.

      Given Bush and Blair expect this nonsense to go on for a long time, I’m not sure either of us would like our civil liberties curtailed until its over.

      Britains Liberism isn’t defined by freedom of clothing is it?

      Actually that is part of it. Women can wear what they want here (apart from not wear anything of course, in public) while in ME countries they could be arrested or beaten for doing so. So I’d say its very much part of Britain’s liberalism - allowing women to exercise their own choice without coercion.

      Also don’t we know that Britains liberalism has created more radicalisation?

      Liberalism is our only hope against radicalisation. Conservative authoritarianism is what extremists want.

    18. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 13th October, 2006 at 10:33 am  

      Given Bush and Blair expect this nonsense to go on for a long time, I’m not sure either of us would like our civil liberties curtailed until its over.

      Why would we want our civil liberties curtailed once it is over? Personally I’d rather not they were at all, but without disappearing into the “does my bomb look big in his” joke, the veil does pose a security risk. Its the old not wear a bicycle helmet in a bank limitation on freedom of expression.

      Liberalism is our only hope against radicalisation.

      Economics would appear to disagree with you. In Europe where the country is more liberal there appears to be more radicalisation.

      Conservative authoritarianism is what extremists want.

      Extremists only want conservative authoritarianism on their terms. For instance I hardly think that Islamists wish for Christain conservatism.

      TFI

    19. TottenhamLad — on 13th October, 2006 at 11:11 am  

      More benefits of immigration:

      English schoolgirl arrested for racism and held in police cell for 6 hours because she could not speak urdu

      I thought it was a joke when I first read it, oh the ‘joys’ of ‘multiculturalism’.

    20. Jav — on 13th October, 2006 at 11:38 am  

      #19

      It’s probably more about having to sit with five Asian pupils rather than the language issue (there was one who could speak English). The Asians within the school are in the minority. I think more needs to be done to combat racism.

    21. Jav — on 13th October, 2006 at 11:44 am  

      Unfortunately it seems some people are determined to be stupid - see

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/bradford/6046992.stm

    22. Leon — on 13th October, 2006 at 11:50 am  

      Interest groups represent a deficit in democracy and ineqaulities in society. A need is not being served, most people aren’t politicaly engaged so groups spring up to fill the vacuum. If we had a more substantial democracy and a vibrant and active citizenry the interest groups influence would wane sharply…how do we change society? Start an interest group! Haha!

      Seriously though, we can’t complain about/oppose/dislike one without challenging the other. If we do we’ll be accused of blaming the victim/attacking the marginalised/doing the bidding of the majority/powerful/be accused of lacking credibility etc.

      Perhaps interest groups (or stakeholders if you want to be polite) are just an honest reflection of the deeper problems at work in our society?

    23. Sahil — on 13th October, 2006 at 11:51 am  

      Jav, frankly, why is the girl not wearing her school uniform?? I really believe that the purpose of school is to educate and remain plural. I totally agree with the french govts line on this, everyone is equally prohibited from wearing religious symbols into school.

    24. TottenhamLad — on 13th October, 2006 at 11:55 am  

      I think more needs to be done to combat racism

      Racism like this?

      Personally I think more needs to be done to combat immigration.

    25. Jav — on 13th October, 2006 at 12:09 pm  

      #24
      Racism like this perhaps?

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=410218&in_page_id=1770

    26. TottenhamLad — on 13th October, 2006 at 12:25 pm  

      #25

      As I am English I have to agree on that one.

    27. Kismet Hardy — on 13th October, 2006 at 12:36 pm  

      What bugs me is how things that were clearly okay before are suddenly the crime of the century ever since the war on terror started

      A muslim teacher got sacked for refusing to take her veil off

      Why was it not a problem when they hired her in the first place?

      I’ve heard people say: ‘muslims need to give an inch to show they’re willing to integrate.’

      What that means is: ‘You’re scaring me because I’m afraid you might bomb us.’

      Let people be and don’t try and make them bend to your ways by force (from all sides involved) and you might just get something close to racial harmony

    28. mirax — on 13th October, 2006 at 12:51 pm  

      perhaps time for a feel-good post about an asian - bangladeshi!- winning the Nobel Peace Prize? http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6047020.stm

    29. Neil W — on 13th October, 2006 at 1:35 pm  

      Kismet,
      To be fair to the school it was the pupils in her class that said they couldn’t understand her.

      Working without a veil doesn’t seem exactly unreasonable.

      It is always worth bearing in mind that to an awful lot of people, probably a large majority of non muslims the veil = oppression and seperation.

      British history is often a long story of a painful, incremental struggle against such things and I suspect thats why it genuinely offends many many people, myself included. My own opinions were formed largely at University (Bradford as it happens) the muslims undergrads I knew then would rather have walked over hot coals then wear a veil or, for the most part, a headscarfe.

    30. Leon — on 13th October, 2006 at 1:38 pm  

      Just had an interesting conversation in the office with someone about this (amongst other things). She said in public places (ie courts/schools/etc) no religious items should be allowed to impede upon proceedings. So, it would be correct that a Teacher can’t cover the face but a pupil doing so could be tolerated.

      Thoughts?

    31. Neil W — on 13th October, 2006 at 1:48 pm  

      Why not just dispense with the veil in public institutions? The religious justification looks pretty shakey, the veil has a poor public image
      and in effect adds to the unfair suspicion directed towards Muslims at the moment.

      Private space would be different however.

      Personally I would like to see religious identification banned from all schools. Surely that should be one place where everyone comes together as equal and without special treatment for one group over the other.

    32. Kismet Hardy — on 13th October, 2006 at 1:56 pm  

      Dream mode: one day, all our children will be raised to be themselves, not a part of a religion or a race they were born into

    33. Shoque — on 13th October, 2006 at 2:03 pm  

      Leon, why should all religious symbols be dispensed in public spaces, just because of the issue of the veil. That’s throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Nothing wrong with a solictor or barrister wearing a hijab or turban, or a doctor wearing a jewish skullcap, or a teacher wearing a crucifix. The veil hides the face and it must be difficult to relate to a teacher in the first place if you cant see their face.

    34. Sid A — on 13th October, 2006 at 2:07 pm  

      The kids from that school are right, of course. How did this woman expect to be doing her job with her face covered?

      I’ve a good friend who’s a top flight project manager who went through a full-on Salafi headcharge a couple of years ago and adopted the full niqab (face covered). She was intelligent enought to realise that she couldn’t possibly do her job with her face veiled so she resigned because it would have been unfair on her employer. Thankfully she’s come out of that phase now and has gone back to work, but she does cover her hair.

      Point being: If you’re going to wear a face veil in public, expect to stay at home to cook, look after the kids and watch Trisha.

    35. Chairwoman — on 13th October, 2006 at 2:12 pm  

      A barrister must wear certain clothes, including the wig or the judge will be unable to ‘see’ him or her. Katy once told me about a colleague of hers who’s suit (under the gown) was considered improper by the officiating judge, and who had to go out and buy a new suit before the judge could ‘see’ him.

      This is neither joke nor urban myth. It happened, therefore I cannot see how a hijab could be worn by a barrister. A kippah (skull cap) could either be worn under the wig, or dispensed with altogether as the man’s head would be covered.

    36. Shoque — on 13th October, 2006 at 2:17 pm  

      There is a dishonesty in the debate on both sides to a certain extent. On the one hand it is being used by some elements as a muslim bashing exercise (but not Jack Straw I dont believe he was wrong to start the debate)

      But on the other hand, some Muslims are being disingenuous too, because covering the face is a deeply anti-social and disquieting thing, and I dont feel comfortable with it at all. So they cant complain that if they meet opposition when they cover their face it is solely because of opposition to Islam, because nobody thinks there is anything wrong with hijab because you can see the face and there is no separation between people.

    37. Sunny — on 13th October, 2006 at 2:22 pm  

      Agree with Shoque. I don’t agree with banning all religious symbols. That would pull out a wealth of talented women with hijabs and Sikhs with turbans. This is a common-sense measure.

      Chairwoman - I believe some of the top QCs in the country are Sikhs with Turbans. They clearly don’t have to put the wig on top of their turban so I don’t see why it’s necessary for hijabi women.

    38. Chairwoman — on 13th October, 2006 at 2:25 pm  

      Sunny - I shall consult the learned one. If there’s a dispensation for Sikhs then I am sure there’s a similar arrangement for other religious head covering wearers.

    39. Shoque — on 13th October, 2006 at 2:27 pm  

      Isnt Cherie Blair in chambers with a famous practising Sikh QC?

    40. Leon — on 13th October, 2006 at 2:37 pm  

      Shoque, not saying it should just repeating an interesting viewpoint (this person is a committed Christian too)…

    41. Uncleji — on 13th October, 2006 at 5:30 pm  

      “In this regard the United States is a much better model” Sorry Maybe I’ve living in a parallal universe but isn’t the US the very definiation of “a nepotistic culture then encourages groups to form organisations and loudly demand a bigger share of the pie.” The place invented the ethnic lobby.

    42. Jai — on 13th October, 2006 at 6:21 pm  

      =>”In this regard the United States is a much better model to follow, where hard working ethnic minorities can get further than the UK, as many people on both sides of the Atlantic repeatedly point out.”

      I’d always thought so too, although apparently some of our American-Indian cousins over on Sepia Mutiny violently disagree. I’m not sure how much of their protests in this matter is purely due to anecdotal subjective personal experience, and how much of it is due to some kind of self-destructive self-fulfilling cycle on their part.

      Again, until relatively recently I’d always thought Sunny’s perspective in this area was the most accurate. Maybe it depends on the particular American-based Indian’s location, profession and personality.

    43. El Cid — on 14th October, 2006 at 12:24 am  

      My point is this then. The struggle for any Briton from an ethnic or religious minority is a struggle for everyone: that people are judged on the basis of their ability not who they know or where they studied.

      This may say lot about me and my busy life and the way I speed read and virtually shoot from the hip, but how could I disagree with this. Basically, I can’t. Yeah, that’s something worth fighting for.

    44. Amir — on 14th October, 2006 at 1:55 am  

      Imitating the US in its approach to integration and immigration is the demographic equivalent of suicide:

      Pat Buchanan Interview: part 1

      Part 2

      Part 3

      Part 4

      Part 5

      Listen and learn; if you’re still unconvinced, may I recommend this superb article in the Washington Post. ‘Shocking’ is the first word that springs to mind.

    45. Sid — on 14th October, 2006 at 2:07 am  

      More on Pat Buchanan:

      “Gay rights activists seek to substitute, for laws rooted in Judeo-Christian morality, laws rooted in the secular humanist belief that all consensual sexual acts are morally equal. That belief is anti-biblical and amoral; to codify it into law is to codify a lie.”
      -Pat Buchanan, Wall Street Journal, January 21, 1993

      “The poor homosexuals — they have declared war upon nature, and now nature is extracting an awful retribution (AIDS).”
      -Pat Buchanan, discussing AIDS in 1983.

      “With 80,000 dead of AIDS, our promiscuous homosexuals appear literally hell-bent on Satanism and suicide,”
      -Pat Buchanan, October 17, 1990.

      “AIDS is nature’s retribution for violating the laws of nature.”
      -Pat Buchanan in his 1992 presidential campaign

      “There were no politics to polarize us then, to magnify every slight. The ‘negroes’ of Washington had their public schools, restaurants, bars, movie houses, playgrounds and churches; and we had ours.”
      -Pat Buchanan, “Right from the Beginning,” (his 1988 autobiography), p. 131 - Commenting on race relations in the 1940s and 1950s

      “How, then, can the feds justify favoring sons of Hispanics over sons of white Americans who fought in World War II or Vietnam?”
      -Pat Buchanan, discussing affirmative action (01/23/95)

      “Our culture is superior. Our culture is superior because our religion is Christianity and that is the truth that makes men free.”
      -Pat Buchanan, speech to the Christian Coalition, Sept. 1993, as reported in ADL Report, 1994

    46. Amir — on 14th October, 2006 at 3:06 am  

      Sid,

      (I) ‘That belief is anti-biblical and amoral; to codify it into law is to codify a lie.”

      So, err, Pat Buchanan is guilty of being an Orthodox Catholic? OKAY. What, exactly, does that have to do with immigration? Mexicans and other Hispanics are predominantly Catholic. What’s your point?

      (II) “The poor homosexuals — they have declared war upon nature, and now nature is extracting an awful retribution (AIDS).”

      Homosexuality is against nature because it is against reproduction. Human beings are equipped with the tools to mate and to reproduce with a female. This does not mean to say however that it is wrong or wicked to be gay. I do not believe it is. STILL, what does this have to do with immigration?

      (III) “With 80,000 dead of AIDS, our promiscuous homosexuals appear literally hell-bent on Satanism and suicide”

      Live by the sword; die by the sword. Promiscuous homosexuals, like horny heterosexuals or greedy bisexuals, run a higher risk of contracting STDs. Fact. Again, what does it have to do with immigration?

      (IV) “AIDS is nature’s retribution for violating the laws of nature.”

      99% of Catholics subscribe to the notion of ‘Natural Law’. Why? Do you find this is shocking in some way? Unprotected anal sex with another male is like taking a swim in a shark tank. Spend too long in the treacherous waters and you’re going to get mauled. Be that as it may – what the hell does this have to do with immigration?

      (V) “There were no politics to polarize us then, to magnify every slight. The ‘negroes’ of Washington had their public schools, restaurants, bars, movie houses, playgrounds and churches; and we had ours.”

      I’m not quite sure what Pat is saying here…? In any case, he is a vocal admirer of black civil-rights campaigners and cultural icons Booker T. Washington and Frederick Douglass. Lots of conservative African-Americans and blue-collar workers support his stance on immigration because of the sustained damage it is causing to traditional black communities. Fact.

      (VI) “How, then, can the feds justify favoring sons of Hispanics over sons of white Americans who fought in World War II or Vietnam?”

      Affirmative action is anti-white and hence racist. Very few conservatives support it.

      (VII) “Our culture is superior. Our culture is superior because our religion is Christianity and that is the truth that makes men free.”

      I totally agree. Couldn’t have put it better myself. Et toi?

      Amir

    47. Kulvinder — on 14th October, 2006 at 3:15 am  

      Homosexuality is against nature because it is against reproduction. Human beings are equipped with the tools to mate and to reproduce with a female.

      Out of curiosity; do you only have sex without a condom, and to reproduce?

      Masturbation must pose quite a dilemma.

    48. bikhair aka taqiyyah — on 14th October, 2006 at 3:31 am  

      Amir,

      “Lots of conservative African-Americans and blue-collar workers support his stance on immigration because of the sustained damage it is causing to traditional black communities. Fact.”

      You are full of poo. Mexicans can teach blacks about traditional communities. To blame Mexicans on the failures of the black community is such crap. Is isnt Mexicans fault that black children 70%-80% of them are born out of wedlock. How untraditional. The low educational levels and unemployment levels among blacks has nothing to do with Mexicans or immigration.

    49. Amir — on 14th October, 2006 at 3:35 am  

      Kulvinder,

      (I) ‘Out of curiosity; do you only have sex without a condom, and to reproduce?’

      ‘Unnatural’, in a social or biological context, does not necessarily equate to ‘bad’ or ‘wicked’ or ‘undesirable’. Yes: I do use condoms. Yes: I consider it as an affront to human nature. However (vis-à-vis your Bakunin-esque endorsement of paedophilia), I DO consider it both unnatural and undesirable, wicked and despicable, to have sex with a pre-pubescent girl.

      (II) ‘Masturbation must pose quite a dilemma.’

      No dilemma. ;-)

    50. Amir — on 14th October, 2006 at 3:42 am  

      Bikhair,

      I suggest that you read the following article:

      One Nation, Indivisible: Is It History? - by William Booth

      [Skip to Section 4 ‘A Rung At A Time’. It says: ‘But for African Americans at the bottom, research indicates that immigration, particularly of Latinos with limited education, has increased joblessness, and frustration.’]

      Full of poo? I don’t think so. Read the article.

      Amir

    51. Amir — on 14th October, 2006 at 3:50 am  

      Bikhair,

      Here’s another instructive article:

      In LA, A Sense of Future Conflicts - by By Michael A. Fletcher [This, I believe, is more relevant to the Black-Hispanic rivalry.]

      And, to a lesser extent, this:

      Immigrants Shunning Idea of Assimilation - By William Branigin

      Amir

    52. Kulvinder — on 14th October, 2006 at 4:09 am  

      Yes: I do use condoms. Yes: I consider it as an affront to human nature.

      I never took you as a subversive! :D

      However (vis-à-vis your Bakunin-esque endorsement of paedophilia),

      Meh; i like to make rational arguments

      I DO consider it both unnatural and undesirable, wicked and despicable, to have sex with a pre-pubescent girl.

      Oh i see! puberty is the crucial determinant not age! the youngest mother on record was five years old; she began menstruating at three

    53. Sunny — on 14th October, 2006 at 4:26 am  

      Pat Buchanan is such a religious nut blowhard. Do you really have to sully my blog with his diatribe?

    54. Amir — on 14th October, 2006 at 4:36 am  

      Pat Buchanan is such a religious nut blowhard. Do you really have to sully my blog with his diatribe?

      I couldn’t care less about his religious views (unless, of course, we were debating religion). I do not share them. His prophetic warnings about an impending apartheid are valid and are taking place already. To emphasise this point, I have provided hyperlinks to articles by non-Buchananites like William Branigin, Michael A. Fletcher, and William Booth. Read them. They’re good articles.

    55. Refresh — on 14th October, 2006 at 10:03 am  

      Sunny, how can you even consider banning (as you do occasionally) Amir when we can debates of this nature.

    56. Chairwoman — on 14th October, 2006 at 10:39 am  

      Refresh - I am refreshed by your good sense :-)

    57. Refresh — on 14th October, 2006 at 11:14 am  

      Damn, I am getting worried. Not only is my grammar deteriorating, I am missing whole words now. I am putting it down to trying ‘shorthand’.

      Chairwoman,

      Amir is a lovely fellow. Misguided perhaps. Illogical may be - but lovely all the same.

      Also he’s promised to buy me an expensive meal, and if he gets banned we’d lose contact.

    58. Sid — on 14th October, 2006 at 11:18 am  

      Amir

      Isn’t Pat (Buchanan) a lovely stand-up bloke. If you’re in the business to vouch for every word he says, you have your work cut out for you. Here he is on the Jooooooos:

      Buchanan referred to Capitol Hill as “Israeli-occupied territory.”
      (St. Louis Post Dispatch, 10/20/90)

      During the Gulf crisis: “There are only two groups that are beating
      the drums for war in the Middle East — the Israeli defense ministry and
      its ‘amen corner’ in the United States.” (“McLaughlin Group,” 8/26/90)

      In a 1977 column, Buchanan said that despite Hitler’s anti-Semitic and
      genocidal tendencies, he was “an individual of great courage…Hitler’s
      success was not based on his extraordinary gifts alone. His genius was an
      intuitive sense of the mushiness, the character flaws, the weakness
      masquerading as morality that was in the hearts of the statesmen who stood
      in his path.” (The Guardian, 1/14/92)

      Writing of “group fantasies of martyrdom,” Buchanan challenged the
      historical record that thousands of Jews were gassed to death by diesel
      exhaust at Treblinka: “Diesel engines do not emit enough carbon monoxide
      to kill anybody.” (New Republic, 10/22/90) Buchanan’s columns have run in
      the Liberty Lobby’s Spotlight, the German-American National PAC newsletter
      and other publications that claim Nazi death camps are a Zionist
      concoction.

      Buchanan called for closing the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of
      Special Investigations, which prosecuted Nazi war criminals, because it was
      “running down 70-year-old camp guards.” (New York Times, 4/21/87)

      Buchanan was vehement in pushing President Reagan — despite protests
      - to visit Germany’s Bitburg cemetery, where Nazi SS troops were buried.
      At a White House meeting, Buchanan reportedly reminded Jewish leaders that
      they were “Americans first” — and repeatedly scrawled the phrase
      “Succumbing to the pressure of the Jews” in his notebook. Buchanan was
      credited with crafting Ronald Reagan’s line that the SS troops buried at
      Bitburg were “victims just as surely as the victims in the concentration
      camps.” (New York Times, 5/16/85; New Republic, 1/22/96)

      After Cardinal O’Connor criticized anti-Semitism during the
      controversy over construction of a convent near Auschwitz, Buchanan wrote:
      “If U.S. Jewry takes the clucking appeasement of the Catholic cardinalate
      as indicative of our submission, it is mistaken. When Cardinal O’Connor of
      New York seeks to soothe the always irate Elie Wiesel by reassuring him
      ‘there are many Catholics who are anti-Semitic’…he speaks for himself. Be
      not afraid, Your Eminence; just step aside, there are bishops and priests
      ready to assume the role of defender of the faith.” (New Republic,
      10/22/90)

      The Buchanan ’96 campaign’s World Wide Web site included an article
      blaming the death of White House aide Vincent Foster on the Israeli
      intelligence agency, Mossad — and alleging that Foster and Hillary
      Clinton were Mossad spies. (The campaign removed the article after its
      existence was reported by a Jewish on-line news service; Jewish Telegraphic
      Agency, 2/21/96.)

      In his September 1993 speech to the Christian Coalition, Buchanan
      declared: “Our culture is superior. Our culture is superior because our
      religion is Christianity and that is the truth that makes men free.” (ADL
      Report, 1994)

    59. Sid — on 14th October, 2006 at 11:22 am  

      Pat Buchanan on African Americans:

      After Sen. Carol Moseley Braun blocked a federal patent for a Confederate flag insignia, Buchanan wrote that she was “putting on an act” by associating the Confederacy with slavery: “The War Between the States
      was about independence, about self-determination, about the right of a people to break free of a government to which they could no longer give allegiance,” Buchanan asserted. “How long is this endless groveling
      before every cry of’racism’ going to continue before the whole country
      collectively throws up?” (syndicated column, 7/28/93)

      On race relations in the late 1940s and early 1950s: “There were no politics to polarize us then, to magnify every slight. The ‘negroes’ of Washington had their public schools, restaurants, bars, movie houses,
      playgrounds and churches; and we had ours.” (Right from the Beginning,
      Buchanan’s 1988 autobiography, p. 131)

      Buchanan, who opposed virtually every civil rights law and court decision of the last 30 years, published FBI smears of Martin Luther King Jr. as his own editorials in the St. Louis Globe Democrat in the mid-1960s.
      “We were among Hoover’s conduits to the American people,” he boasted (Right
      from the Beginning, p. 283).

      White House advisor Buchanan urged President Nixon in an April 1969
      memo not to visit “the Widow King” on the first anniversary of Martin Luther King’s assassination, warning that a visit would “outrage many, many
      people who believe Dr. King was a fraud and a demagogue and perhaps worse…. Others consider him the Devil incarnate. Dr. King is one of the most divisive men in contemporary history.” (New York Daily News, 10/1/90)

      In a memo to President Nixon, Buchanan suggested that “integration of blacks and whites — but even more so, poor and well-to-do — is less
      likely to result in accommodation than it is in perpetual friction, as the incapable are placed consciously by government side by side with the
      capable.” (Washington Post, 1/5/92)

      In another memo from Buchanan to Nixon: “There is a legitimate grievance in my view of white working-class people that every time, on
      every issue, that the black militants loud-mouth it, we come up with more money…. If we can give 50 Phantoms [jet fighters] to the Jews, and a multi-billion dollar welfare program for the blacks…why not help the Catholics save their collapsing school system.” (Boston Globe, 1/4/92)

      Buchanan has repeatedly insisted that President Reagan did so much for African-Americans that civil rights groups have no reason to exist:
      “George Bush should have told the [NAACP convention] that black America has grown up; that the NAACP should close up shop, that its members should go home and reflect on JFK’s admonition: ‘Ask not what your country can do for you, but rather ask what you can do for your country.’” (syndicated column, 7/26/88)

      In a column sympathetic to ex-Klansman David Duke, Buchanan chided the Republican Party for overreacting to Duke and his Nazi “costume”: “Take a hard look at Duke’s portfolio of winning issues and expropriate those not in conflict with GOP principles, [such as] reverse discrimination against white folks.” (syndicated column, 2/25/89)

      Trying to justify apartheid in South Africa, he denounced the notion that “white rule of a black majority is inherently wrong. Where did we get that idea? The Founding Fathers did not believe this.” (syndicated column, (2/7/90) He referred admiringly to the apartheid regime as the “Boer Republic”: “Why are Americans collaborating in a U.N. conspiracy to ruin her with sanctions?” (syndicated column, 9/17/89)

    60. Sid — on 14th October, 2006 at 11:24 am  

      Pat Buchanan on Immigrants and Non-white peoples:

      “There is nothing wrong with us sitting down and arguing that issue that we are a European country.” (Newsday, 11/15/92)

      Buchanan on affirmative action: “How, then, can the feds justify favoring sons of Hispanics over sons of white Americans who fought in World War II or Vietnam?” (syndicated column, 1/23/95)

      In a September 1993 speech to the Christian Coalition, Buchanan described multiculturalism as “an across-the-board assault on our Anglo-American heritage.”

      “If we had to take a million immigrants in, say Zulus, next year, or Englishmen, and put them up in Virginia, what group would be easier to assimilate and would cause less problems for the people of Virginia?”
      (“This Week With David Brinkley,” 1/8/91)

    61. Refresh — on 14th October, 2006 at 11:46 am  

      Sid,

      “integration of blacks and whites — but even more so, poor and well-to-do — is less
      likely to result in accommodation than it is in perpetual friction, as the incapable are placed consciously by government side by side with the
      capable.”

      That is the crux of the issue - everything else flows from it.

      It is this that I don’t beleive Amir subscribes to - and if he was to follow it through logically then he would realise it boils down to ‘might is right’, and as might re-distributes itself within a nation, the tensions start to show. That was the 70′s, and then with Thatcherism in the 80′s.

      The current tensions are being generated by a number of players - the government to justify its military adventures, the right-wing with its ‘PC gone mad’ slogan and the well funded ‘clash of civilisation’ institutes of Washington not forgetting their past servants (the Contras of Afghanistan).

      Others on another thread used issues of capability (being well-off and/or well-educated) as a counter to a BNP contributor - which was to me an absolute travesty. For they too could easily be dragged into this swamp.

    62. Refresh — on 14th October, 2006 at 12:14 pm  

      Sid, excellent work on Buchanan.

    63. Chairwoman — on 14th October, 2006 at 12:47 pm  

      Sid - Interesting that Buchanan denies Treblinka’s efficiency. I found the names of all my grandfather’s brothers and sisters, and their children, at Treblinka on Yad Vashem,s website. It was particularly weird for me, as one of my mother’s cousins, that she had never met, had exactly the same name as her. They all died on the same day.

      Perhaps Mr Buchanan could explain that to me, and Amir, whose arguements I enjoy immensly, could reconsider his stance on the man.

    64. Sid — on 14th October, 2006 at 1:05 pm  

      ChairWoman, Buchanan stands for white supremacism, anti-semtism, extreme homophobia, anti-liberalism and anti-civil rights. Amir, smart and cuddly though he is, has views that are entirely consonant with Buchanan’s. So I wouldn’t hold my breath.

    65. Chairwoman — on 14th October, 2006 at 1:16 pm  

      Yeah, I knew all of that, I just didn’t realise he was a holocaust denier as well. I so prefer my antisemites to be in the ‘Hitler had it right’ camp, rather than the ‘Hitler never did it’ one.

    66. ZinZin — on 14th October, 2006 at 1:48 pm  

      Chairwoman
      I would like to put the “I’m not racist, But” crew in there as well.

    67. Chairwoman — on 14th October, 2006 at 1:50 pm  

      ZinZin - Or how about the ‘Not you, of course’ gang.

    68. ZinZin — on 14th October, 2006 at 1:59 pm  

      We do need a more meritocratic society. Britain is still very much driven by class differences and they are becoming more, not less perpetuating, especially in politics, media and education. This makes it harder for some minority groups, who are overwhelmingly working class, to get very far.

      Sunny i would like to take you up on the meritocracy angle. I would like to stat that it is not a very good idea for such an idea to be promoted. The working class may favour meritocracy but it works against them in a myriad of ways. Those with money and well-established social networks will always do better than talented working class kids.

      “The Rise of the Meritocracy, published in 1958, Michael Young warned that meritocracy wouldn’t lead to equality but to a new, more vicious form of elitism. That is exactly what has happened. Inequalities of wealth and income are as ever but, more importantly, the new elite makes no apologies for its privileges, including the privilege of ensuring an easy passage through life for its own children.”
      Peter Wilby, Guardian 17/6/06

    69. ZinZin — on 14th October, 2006 at 2:01 pm  

      Chairwoman
      They both insult our collective intellect that is more offensive than the racist sentinemnts IMO.

    70. Refresh — on 14th October, 2006 at 2:08 pm  

      Good post on meritocracy ZinZin.

      And how the worthy then look down their noses at the left-behind.

      Excellent point about the ‘worthy’ making no apologies for its privileges. Reminds me of the ‘pulling up the ladder’ argument that raged over Blair’s removal of the student grant replaced by the student loan.

    71. ZinZin — on 14th October, 2006 at 2:12 pm  

      Thanks Refresh
      But i borrowed Peter Wilby’s work. So can’t take all the credit.

      However Michael Young wrote a satirical novel entitled The rise of the Meritocracy if you are interested.

    72. Amir — on 14th October, 2006 at 4:41 pm  

      Spreading lies about Pat Buchanan: Part I, Anti-Semitism

      Okay, let’s get a few facts straight. Pat Buchanan has always favoured a strong, independent state of Israel. In 1973, as a special assistant to President Nixon, he strongly supported the decision to aid the Israelis with a massive airlift that saved the country in the Yom Kippur War; in 1976, he supported the Israeli raid on Entebbe, and in 1981 he supported the Begin government’s attack on the Baghdad nuclear reactor; in 1986, he was instrumental in getting Natan Sharanski released from the Gulag at the urging of his wife Avital.

      Charges of anti-Semitism are always calculated to daub his reputation and de-legitimise his contrarian opinions; they are rooted, in part, in disagreements about the direction of American foreign policy, and have nothing to do with supposed expressions of racism or Jew hatred. Buchanan’s columns throughout his 20 years as a columnist contain numerous affirmations of his view that the U.S. has a ‘moral commitment – to guarantee the security and survival of the Israeli state,’ (as he told Human Events editor Allan Ryskind in 1992), and not a single reference that can remotely be considered anti-Semitic.

      You mention a 1977 column in which Pat Buchanan called Hitler an “individual of great courage’ who possessed ‘extraordinary gifts.” The way in which you cite these phrases are intended to leave the impression that the column was a tribute to Adolf Hitler. In reality, the column was, in large part, an account of historian John Toland’s widely-acclaimed biography of Hitler. A characterization of Toland’s depiction of Hitler, reads, “Hitler was indeed racist and anti-Semitic to the core, a man who without compunction could commit murder and genocide.” In the same column Buchanan writes that “Hitler was marching along the road toward a New Order where Western civilization would not survive.” Far from an endorsement of Hitler, the column warned of making the same mistake with Mao Tse-tun and Taiwan in 1977 that deluded western leaders made with Hitler and Czechoslovakia in the ‘30s.

      You also mention his fracas with Cardinal O’Connor. The context of that comment was the demand by Bronx Rabbi Avraham Weiss for the Catholic Church to expel Carmelite nuns from their convent at Auschwitz, on the grounds that their presence there was an insult to Jewish sensibilities, since Pope Pius XII and the Church were allegedly complicit in the Holocaust. Weiss actually invaded the convent at Auschwitz to protest the nuns’ presence. Buchanan wrote a column defending the Catholic Church and Pope Pius XII against the slur, pointing out that the contemporary testimony of Jewish leaders contradicted the charges, in fact praising Pius XII for saving Jewish lives.

      I, unlike Sunny or Sid, am unashamedly pro-Zionist and strongly supportive of Jewish interests worldwide. Nor am I so sycophantically enamoured with the pseudo-history of Noam Chomsky, Alexander Cockburn or that nasty-piece-of-work Norman Finkelstein – who, let me remind you, is an intellectual fellow-traveller of Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson, neo-Nazi Ingrid Rimland, and the leader of Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah. Pat Buchanan does not, in any way, shape, or form, subscribe to the same anti-Zionist sentiments that pervade the European Left.

      #1: Buchanan on the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982: “Politically, mankind suffered no irreversible loss with the sweeping of the PLO from the international chess board. As virulently anti-American as it was anti-Israeli, the PLO has been a Soviet cat’s-paw, the linchpin of international terror, the base camp for the worst elements on earth, a friend to every enemy of the United States from the Sandinistas in Nicaragua to Idi Amin in Uganda.

      #2: On the Israeli annexation of the Golan Heights in 1985: “The militants – Syria, Libya, Iraq, the military wing of the PLO – will settle for nothing less than eradication of the “Zionist entity” from the Arab world. Within Egypt, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, there are millions more for whom the humbling and destruction of the Jewish state is a nightly dream. Even the “moderate” governments in the region — Egypt, for example – could probably not survive a permanent peace which left East Jerusalem under Israeli control.”

      #3: On the State of Israel: “Israel remains a tough, resourceful, energetic nation, an offspring of the West… whose current struggle merits sympathy and support.”

      Nice try Sid.

      Amir

    73. Chairwoman — on 14th October, 2006 at 5:12 pm  

      Amir - I know that you are a strong supporter of the State of Israel, and I always appreciate your support on that issue, but sometimes I think you have dubious bedfellows :-)

    74. Chairwoman — on 14th October, 2006 at 5:13 pm  

      My smiley’s back!

    75. Sid — on 14th October, 2006 at 7:30 pm  

      Amir

      The difference between Pat Buchanan and myself, and most certainly Sunny, is that I am a vocal critic of Israel’s policies but I am not antisemitic. Pat Buchanan is a supporter of Israel’s policies but is clearly antisemitic, and racist, and homophobic, and a white supremacist.

    76. ZinZin — on 14th October, 2006 at 8:37 pm  

      Why does Amir dominate every thread eveytime he posts?

      Answer: Because we let him.

      Pat Buchanan, Israel, Palestine this thread is about multiculturalism and equality. Stick to the subject.

    77. Amir — on 14th October, 2006 at 9:42 pm  

      Sid,

      ‘Pat Buchanan is a supporter of Israel’s policies but is clearly antisemitic, and racist, and homophobic, and a white supremacist.’

      Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. Pat Buchanan does not support all of Israel’s policies - he’s one of Israel’s biggest right-wing critics. He is not a racist or an anti-Semite or a white supremacist. As per usual, you’re playing a dirty little language game. Have you actually read any of Pat Buchanan’s books? Nope? Didn’t think so.

      I do, however, concede that Pat Buchanan is a homophobe. It’s a nasty feature of paleoconservative discourse, just as anti-Semitism and political correctness is a nasty feature of left-wing discourse.

      Amir

    78. Amir — on 14th October, 2006 at 9:47 pm  

      ZinZin,

      ‘Why does Amir dominate every thread eveytime he posts? Answer: Because we let him.’

      In actual fact, it is because (a) I contribute more than most Picklers; and (b) I’m always put in a position where I must defend myself or my sources from preposterous accusations of ‘bigotry’. It was Sid – not me – who changed the subject. I have no desire whatsoever to talk about Israel or homosexuality.

    79. Sid — on 14th October, 2006 at 10:08 pm  

      Amir

      You posted a link to a Pat Buchanan interview on YouTube. So I posted some cut and paste jobs of some of Pat Buchanan’s direct quotes. You know, like from out of his own mouth?

      Are you telling me that if I understand Pat Buchanan to be anything other than a racist, a white supremacist, a far right religious bigot, a homophobe it makes me player of a dirty language game?

      Its Saturday night I’m a little drunk and a bit stoned (celebrating Prof Yunus winning the Nobel Peace Prize etc). So excuse me if I ask you a personal question. You really like playing these fucked up little online spats don’t you?

    80. ZinZin — on 15th October, 2006 at 12:34 am  

      Amir
      a)Quantity does not mean quality
      b)Your challenged over your reactionary worldview your sources are a small part of that challenge.
      c)No it was you who changed the subject. Liar.
      D)Pat Buchanan is a religious blowhard. He supports Israel for two reasons: a)He hate Arabs more than Jews; b) he is an evagelical who wants to bring forth Judgement day.

      Amir you are a bore. I learn fuck all from your contributions to PP.

    81. Sunny — on 15th October, 2006 at 12:46 am  

      Anyway, taking this back from idiot Pat Buchanan territory.

      Zinzin, you say: The working class may favour meritocracy but it works against them in a myriad of ways. Those with money and well-established social networks will always do better than talented working class kids.

      Surely meritocracy offers the best way for talented working class people to pull themselves out of a cycle of poverty? What’s the alternative? outright socialism? I’m not convinced by that. I think a meritocracy where everyone is afforeded the same opportunities and the same base (in education) is the best way to ensure people of any race, religion or class can shine. That ensures that middle-class rich kids with connected daddies cannot get jobs easily. No?

    82. Amir — on 15th October, 2006 at 1:45 am  

      ZinZin,

      (I) ‘he is an evagelical who wants to bring forth Judgement day.’

      He’s an Orthodox Catholic - idiot.

      (II) ‘He hate Arabs more than Jews’

      What? Where’s your evidence? You don’t have any. Pat Buchanan is extremely sympathetic towards the Palestinian cause. Palestinian intellectuals often cite his articles.

      (III) ‘Quantity does not mean quality’

      You fail on both counts.

      (IV) ‘No it was you who changed the subject. Liar.’

      I provided several links to an interview with Buchanan because Jai suggested that the American approach to integration was better than the British one. Sid, on the other hand, started fulminating about Pat Buchanan’s views on homosexuality. So stop calling me a liad, liar.

      Amir.

    83. Amir — on 15th October, 2006 at 2:13 am  

      Sid,

      ‘You really like playing these fucked up little online spats don’t you?’

      The answer to your question is ‘No’. I don’t. The worst thing about people like yourself is that you have such a high opinion of your intellectual breeding. You think you’re the ‘way’, the truth and the life. You believe that you’re so enlightened and so civilised that opposition must, by definition, be wrong.

      1960′s people still think of themselves as anti-establishment pariahs, but, in actual fact, are often among the most intolerant of authoritarians, contemptuous of public opinion and petulantly dismissive of those who get in their way.

      Pat Buchanan has many, many faults - ‘homophobia’ being one of them - and he is frequently insensitive to the insecurities of minority groups. But he is not a racist. Nor is he a white supremacist. And he is most certainly not an anti-Semite. He’s just an old-fashioned Republican who hates affirmative action, political correctness, and mass immigration. That’s all. Read his columns.

      If I can’t quote a paleoconservative pundit on this blog without the auto-accusation of ‘ism, ism, ism’ then why the hell should I bother? I shouldn’t.

      PP is addictive – I admit. But an addiction is not necessarily a good thing. Especially when it is making me feel like shit.

      HOWEVER, let me say one thing: Respect to Refresh and Chris Stiles. They are the most worthy of interlocutors. Open-minded and endlessly inquisitive. They relish a good argument. Jagdeep and Jai (and Leon and Bannabrain) are also worth reading; they’re very patriotic and refreshingly nuanced.

      My own belief is that politics must be subversive if it is to be meaningful. By this I mean that it must challenge all the things we take for granted, examine all accepted assumptions, tamper with every sacred cow, and instill a desire to question and doubt. The attempt to enforce conventional mediocrity on the young is criminal.

      Amir

    84. ZinZin — on 15th October, 2006 at 1:24 pm  

      Sunny
      Meritocracy is not a solution to inequality. In fact social mobility in Britain is grinding to a halt.

      I think a meritocracy where everyone is afforeded the same opportunities and the same base (in education) is the best way to ensure people of any race, religion or class can shine. That ensures that middle-class rich kids with connected daddies cannot get jobs easily. No?

      My contention is that we are not afforded the same chances yet meritocracy is universally championed as a good thing. Michael Youngs novel the rise of the meritocracy was a satire. Yet satire has become public policy. Satire is dead.

      Michael young preferred privelige to meritocracy as those at the bottom would maintain a semblence of self-respect and those at the top would feel a sense of shame. In short Young believed that meritocracy would break the bonds that held society together.

      Meritocracy invents a level playing field were none exists. “The Rise of the Meritocracy, published in 1958, Michael Young warned that meritocracy wouldn’t lead to equality but to a new, more vicious form of elitism. That is exactly what has happened. Inequalities of wealth and income are as ever but, more importantly, the new elite makes no apologies for its privileges, including the privilege of ensuring an easy passage through life for its own children.” Meritocracy is a zero-sum game those who succeed are entitled to everthing those who fail get nothing except abuse.

      Sunny do those of lesser abilities deserve respect?

    85. Sid — on 15th October, 2006 at 2:36 pm  

      Amir

      If anyone is reinforcing conventional mediocrity on the young, it is you yourself. You can couch all the reactionary-as-you-like politics in all the Academic NewSpeak terminology that you want but certain attitudes have a way of floating to the top, like unwanted turds.

      You continually indulge yourself with long boring horn-locking exchanges with anyone who rejects your reactionary politics and threads you involve yourself with usually end up in extremely uncomfortable and personal tirades which invariably derail the commentary. And you’re being disengenuous and completely childish when you suggest that I’m authoritarian when you know that your own views on sexuality, race and immigration are not exactly libertarian.

      I find your stuff illuminative and engaging however, and unlike others have never told you to fuck off and write your own blog. But don’t level the “dirty language game” invective at others when you’re a pretty dab hand at it yourself.

    86. Sid — on 15th October, 2006 at 2:39 pm  

      Here is a re-appraisal of Pat Buchanan which is a far more subtle vindication of his politics than Amir has been able to manage. The problem is I don’t understand the layers and layers of nuance that it wraps itself in.

      Old-school anti-Semitism is bad whichever way you look at it, isn’t it? Apparently not. According to the above article, Buchanan’s views are misunderstood by the Left and his politics are too subtle for anyone other than his supporters to understand. Apparantly its possible to viscerally hate Jewish individuals for their “Jewishness” but be absolved of that crime if that person is a supporter of Zionism.

      Like, huh? That one goes completely over my head.

      This feels like a Philip Roth moment to me. I’ve read lots of novels by Roth and he’s a genius, no doubt about it. But I don’t think, hand on my heart, I understand all the Jewish-Gentile dynamics and the coded references that he brilliantly touches on.

      In the same way that when I talk to a white reader of Rushdie or Vikram Seth, they don’t always automatically “get” all the subtle Southasian references which any brown reader will instantly pick up.

      Take a look at this thread on Harry’s Place. Its a group of well-informed, well-read, nuanced and savvy white people discussing the politics of Untouchability in India. But its clear from the comments that most people don’t have a clue about what they’re talking about. (Except a commenter called johng, but he’s shouted down because his politics are diametrically opposite to the HP stance). That’s just one example.

      I’m a first generation immigrant to the UK and I don’t have the integral knowledge of Jewish-Gentile dynamics that would makes me understand why Pat Buchanan is not an antisemite, but yet, if I criticise Israel’s policies, I am a candidate for the Anti-Nazi League blacklist.

      This thing must work both ways.

    87. Sunny — on 15th October, 2006 at 3:33 pm  

      Sunny do those of lesser abilities deserve respect?

      No, not at all. I think people should deserve respect for the work they want to do. But my point is this system means people are relegated to a life that is dependent on the social class they were born in. They’ll have very little way of breaking out of that. I think that’s a bit depressing to be honest.

      I do accept that sometimes people propose and argue for a meritocracy but in reality it turns out to be a sham. But that doesn’t mean we should not fight for more equality. Otherwise we give up on the ideals of more social equality.

    88. Sahil — on 16th October, 2006 at 10:34 am  

      Here’s a article from the undercover economist Tim Hartford, about minority self-segregation:

      The British are worrying about ghettos. David Cameron’s anxiety about “communities where people from different ethnic origins never meet, never talk, never go into each others’ homes” seems to have found echoes up and down the political spectrum. The American political scientist Robert Putnam has even been invited to collaborate with Manchester-based academics on the question of immigration and social change. Professor Putnam’s work on “social capital” is justly admired, but perhaps we should have invited some economists across the Atlantic too.

      David Cameron’s nervousness is understandable, but an early contribution of economists was to point out that segregation need not be the result of sinister processes. Thomas Schelling, one of last year’s Nobel laureates in economics, once showed that this was true in an absurdly simple little demonstration that, once they have witnessed it, people rarely forget.

      You can prove it to yourself at home with a chessboard and a collection of black and white counters. Scatter the counters at random across the chessboard, leaving about a third of the spaces empty. Each counter will have up to eight neighbours; look for a white counter whose neighbours are more than two-thirds black, and move it to the nearest space where it is not so badly outnumbered.

      The counters represent people, of course. Do the same for other “counters” and you will find a chain reaction taking place. Each counter that moves leaves an old neighbour isolated. The neighbour moves in turn. The blacks and whites separate like oil and vinegar, despite the fact that each might be happy to live in a mixed neighbourhood.

      A desire not to be racially outnumbered more than two to one is nothing to be proud of, but it hardly signifies membership of the Ku Klux Klan. Professor Schelling showed that rather mild preferences could lead to levels of segregation that looked very alarming. What his model does not reveal is how destructive the results of segregation are - if, indeed they are destructive at all.

      So, are ghettos a bad thing? The American economists David Cutler and Ed Glaeser have been returning to this rather pointed question, on and off, for a decade. Their initial research suggested, plausibly enough, that living in a racial enclave damaged your education and job prospects.

      Follow-up work didn’t concur. Evidence started to emerge that minority groups might even benefit from self-segregation. (One small example: the research on car-pooling that I described in July, showing that blacks were more likely to get a lift to work from a black-majority area.)

      Professors Cutler and Glaeser then revisited the question with a third economist, Jacob Vigdor. Armed with more data, they concluded that the overall averages are masking what is really happening. Ghettos create winners and losers. Those living inside the ethnic or religious enclave suffered as a result: they were likely to be cut off from opportunities to learn from, or be employed in, the wider world. Unless the enclave community itself is highly educated and prosperous to start with, this is a trap.

      But a growing number of people benefit from the ghetto: these are “connectors”, members of minority groups who live outside the ghetto and link it to the outside world. Vigdor speculates that such people are entrepreneurs benefiting from selling services into the segregated community, or employing its members to produce something for the wider world.

      Putnam emphasises the importance of “bridging social capital” - relationships that cross ethnic or religious dividing lines. If Vigdor is right, the people who act as bridges are growing in number and being rewarded for their efforts. That is reassuring, as well as making good economic sense.

    89. sonia — on 16th October, 2006 at 12:38 pm  

      missed this thread. She puts it very well. focus on the public sphere.

    90. sonia — on 16th October, 2006 at 12:46 pm  

      however i can’t understand this constant reference to the US model does it better - does what better?!! just in the way Americans of asian descent have ‘made it’ so you can find similar people here. and forget the race card. let’s think about groups of people who aren’t so well off to start with. let’s not fool ourselves that there aren’t extreme barriers to getting ahead in the US - in many ways far more than over here. education for instance. people here complain about tuition fees for university - and rightly so. Anyone had a look at how much they are in the US?! given that very specific point - i fail to see how it’s easier for people to get themselves an education compared to here - given the significant difference in debt you’ll end up in. and then healthcare - you’re in big trouble if you haven’t got health insurance - big big trouble. Ignoring these issues then saying oh the US model is better is ludicrous - all it highlights is serious ignorance of real life in the US of A.

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