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  • Weekly roundup of err, stuff

    by Sunny
    30th May, 2006 at 4:46 am    

    A quick and dirty (and late) round-up for you folks.

    1) This weekend Nick Cohen covered the Hindu paintings controversy with a similar line to what I took last week, a fact many emailed in to point out. Thanks!

    This week I hope to put together a petition and find out exactly why Asia House is not saying anything, before we go further with plans of a counter-demonstration. Amit Roy also had a few more tidbits on this.

    2) Oldham council released its own Ted Cantle report on the riots of 2001 this week. Read it here. If you find anything significant please let me know.

    3) Arcelor spurned Lakshmi Mittal for a worse Russian company. Are they afraid of brown people, the Guardian and Indy ask?

    4) Political correctness once again gone mad over a prayer-room, (via Pub)

    5) Curious Hamster has the best take on George Galloway’s stupid outburst, while Chris Dillow is right on being against progressive nationalism as David Goodhart wants it.

    6) I’ve started using Google Notebook (and its Mozilla extension) so I promise better roundups in the future.

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    1. StrangelyPsychedelique/Kesara — on 30th May, 2006 at 7:25 am  

      In an interview with GQ magazine, Mr Galloway was asked whether the assassination of Mr Blair by a suicide bomber would be justified, if there were no other casualties.

      It is a retarted question to begin with. Why didnt they suggest a sniper’s bullet instead? The chance of a self-combustible nutcase not causing collateral damage to someone like TB is just plain naive even if it is for the purposes of an example. At least chose a good one and if Galloway wanted to he should have corrected it.

      This is the part that worries me:
      He added: “Such an operation would be counter-productive because it would just generate a new wave of anti-Arab sentiment whipped up by the press. It would lead to new draconian anti-terror laws, and would probably strengthen the resolve of the British and American services in Iraq rather than weaken it. So, yes, I would inform the authorities.”

      via the guardian,,-5847258,00.html

      So if there was to be no backlash and the effect on coalition forces was a demoralising one, George Galloway WOULDN’T tip off the authorities?
      For someone so anti-war he isn’t so anti-killing is he?
      From what I’ve seen the press have been careful not to ‘misconstrue’ his remarks (surprise surprise) but in this case I can see how skewered his mentality is.

      (Im not concerned about the morality of the issue - just trying to spot the jester in the court.)

      Also what pisses me off is that some folks bang on about how the london bombers were spurred on by Iraq (which is partly TonyB’s fault and thus he is a war criminal blah blah). The problem I have with this is an analytical shortsightedness that seems to be quite prevelant. Like our boom-boom martyrs(sp) are only thinking about IraqIraqIraq 24/7. Bosnia ring a bell? Chechnya? Tony wasnt in power at the time…
      (Thank Goodness Melanie Phillips brought that issue up - it is often overlooked esp with regards to terrorist profiling).

      Im surprised Galloway didnt call for attacks against every world leader who’s ever pissed someone off (big time). Or perhaps Tony nicked his pen during a Commoner’s session and this is personal babay.

    2. StrangelyPsychedelique/Kesara — on 30th May, 2006 at 8:22 am  

      Or perhaps Galloway has realised the effectiveness of Boom-Boom folk as instruments of policy change…

    3. Kismet Hardy — on 30th May, 2006 at 9:35 am  

      I keep muttering this whenever Galloway’s mentioned but no one wants to know so I’ll tell you. Galloway started a paper called East, a fiercely pro-Islamic British pakistani newspaper which eventually folded when pro-Islamic British Pakistanis took offence. I can’t remember why other than I didn’t get paid a penny for my contributions, nor did anyone else I knew who worked there.

      If only PP were around then to remind me anything else about it.

      Back to muttering

    4. Kismet Hardy — on 30th May, 2006 at 9:42 am  

      I’ve got a rubber cheque with George Gallaway’s name on it

      Think it’ll be worth something someday?

    5. bd — on 30th May, 2006 at 10:55 am  

      Academic campaign to Reinstate Indian art exhibition. PS. thy’ve cited your piece.

      This Awaaz group is worth highlighting: “UK-based secular network of individuals and organisations committed to monitoring and combating religious hatred in South Asia and in the UK”.

    6. Roger — on 30th May, 2006 at 12:59 pm  

      What was it about a “fiercely pro-Islamic British pakistani newspaper” that offended “pro-Islamic British Pakistanis”, Kismet, or is that a typo?

      There’s actually a long tradition justifying political assassination [see Killing no Murder by Edward Hyams for a discussion]. It depends, of course, on many factors, including the method, the harm to other people and the effects of killing [or not killing] people. However it is unwise to dismiss assassination out of hand as a part of politics.

      I was entertained by the Odinist/muslim furore [and what's wrong with skiving anyway? "They pretend to pay us. We pretend to work."]. A friend of mine became an odinist because, he said, if anyone was running the universe a bunch of argumentative, petty-minded drunks were the most convincing candidates. Would you be permitted to carry out more practical forms of worship such as sacrifice, perhaps?

    7. Awaaz South Asia Watch — on 30th May, 2006 at 3:12 pm  

      Email:, Telephone: (+ 44) 020 8843 2333


      Awaaz – South Asia Watch urges Asia House, London to re-open the exhibition of the work of renowned Indian artist, MF Husain. Awaaz condemns the forced closure of the exhibition following violence, harassment and intimidation by fundamentalists claiming to represent the views of British Hindus. The fundamentalists who vandalised the paintings reflect the authoritarian ideologies and tactics of militant Hindu Right groups in India.

      In India, organisations such as the extremely violent Bajrang Dal, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and other organizations linked to the fascist-inspired Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) [1], have repeatedly attacked MF Husain and other artists, filmmakers, intellectuals and cultural practitioners. In 1998, Hindu Right groups attacked and ransacked Husain’s Bombay home, one of several such attacks on the artist and his work. Hindu Right groups have regularly attempted to undermine the freedom of thought and expression enshrined in the Indian constitution and reflected in the vibrancy of Indian culture.

      In Hindu traditions there is an extensive history of wide and diverse representations of the sacred deities, including nude, erotic and other depictions. Hinduism has never possessed a concept of censorship or blasphemy of the kind that authoritarian groups wish to promote. A key reason the exhibition is being attacked is because MF Husain is a Muslim. Groups involved have used religious claims to mask a political agenda that owes to the Hindu Right, an agenda which has caused considerable violence and misery in India since the 1980s.

      Hindu Right groups in Britain have previously used tactics of intimidation to attempt to prevent films on the 2002 Gujarat carnage being shown in London. Contrary to any Hindu tradition, they have also appointed themselves to police in an authoritarian way the representation of Hindu deities and icons in the UK.

      The Hindu Forum of Britain and Hindu Human Rights accuse Asia House of not ‘consulting’ with them before putting up the exhibition. But they are not democratically-elected representatives of Hindu populations or opinion in the UK and represent little beyond their limited and chauvinistic political agendas. The Hindu Forum of Britain has actively supported or defended the RSS’s UK projects as well as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad. The Hindu Forum of Britain has attempted to present these as ordinary religious organizations, whereas they are in fact political organizations of the Hindu Right.

      We urge Asia House not to give in to the bullying and intimidation tactics of Hindu fundamentalists and to reinstate the exhibition of works by one of the subcontinent’s most acclaimed artists. Asia House must reject the intolerance, narrow-mindedness and political interests of the Hindu Right. By re-opening the exhibition, Asia House will genuinely honour the rich and diverse traditions of expression arising from Hinduism and from India.



      1. The RSS was created in the 1920s as a semi-paramilitary movement and its origins were inspired by Italian Fascism and German Nazism. The assassin of M.K. Gandhi was a former RSS member. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) is the RSS’s religious front and has been repeatedly indicted for acts of violence and hatred in India over several decades. The ideology of the RSS and its vast network of organizations is Hindutva, an intolerant worldview of Hindu supremacy, anti-minority hatred and an exclusive ‘Hindu nation’. The RSS and VHP have an extensive network of branches in the UK, organised through the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) and the VHP UK. The National Hindu Students Forum, which has opposed the exhibition, is also very closely associated with the HSS.

      For further Information contact: Awaaz Secretariat on: (+44) 020 8843 2333 or email

      Awaaz - South Asia watch is a UK based South Asian secular network committed to challenging all forms of religious hatred and intolerance. Awaaz - South Asia Watch is a project of The Monitoring Group.

    8. xyz — on 30th May, 2006 at 4:06 pm  

      Awaaz. Ha Ha Ha.

    9. Jai — on 30th May, 2006 at 4:21 pm  

      =>”In Hindu traditions there is an extensive history of wide and diverse representations of the sacred deities, including nude, erotic and other depictions.”

      We don’t want to reignite the previous thread on this topic, which is hopefully now so dead that even a skilled surgeon with a portable cardiac jump-start kit couldn’t revive it, but I’m sure quite a few of us would love to know what the statement above is based on. I’ve never seen any evidence of this in my entire life — not w.r.t Hindu deities, anyway (“apsaras”, Khajuraho etc is a different matter).

    10. Kismet Hardy — on 30th May, 2006 at 4:25 pm  

      Does this mean we can talk about beastiality again?

    11. Fundu Chadi — on 30th May, 2006 at 6:00 pm  

      Jai, if you’ve never seen nude or sexual Hindu deities, your entire life must have been very sheltered and you really need to get out more. Ma Kali figurines? y’know, the ones where she’s on top of shiva, sometimes even cutting his head off while he is doing the deed, poor bloke? or others og shiva with his hands in unmentionable places during a foursome that proves there must have been vedic speed dating. As for the jaina ones…hmmmmmm. Anyway, why not khajuraho?

    12. Jai — on 30th May, 2006 at 6:06 pm  

      Apart from Kali, obviously. I was thinking of Krishna, Vishnu, Brahma, Sita, Parvati etc.

      My comment about Khajuraho was in the sense that it is indeed covered with erotic carvings but not of any of the major Hindu deities I’ve just mentioned. Apsaras and depictions of everyday-folk (from those times, anyway) getting up to naughty business don’t count.

    13. Amba — on 30th May, 2006 at 6:24 pm  

      Jai, there actually are Kangra miniature paintings of Radha and Krishna engaged in intercourse, so there is precedent in the Hindu artistic tradition for those sorts of depictions. However, there isn’t any precedent for depicting Hindu deities engaged in bestiality; Husain’s paintings depicting the latter reveal him to be akin to deliberately provocative artists like Chris Ofili and Andreas Serrano.

    14. Fundu Chadi — on 30th May, 2006 at 6:37 pm  

      Krishna not sexual or erotic? - most medieval Hindu erotic poetry is based on his exploits with radha and the gopis. Parvati is part of the foursome orgy I mentioned - an exceptionally beautiful carving. Sita only had to go through a trial by fire cos Ram thought she was unfaithful. There is even a ram story of rakshas becoming pregnant with sita’s child (wot are the chances of that happenin’ then.) As for Brahma’s seed…well. Khajurao and numerous other temples are covered with deities (not ordinary folksies) doind much that would make me blind. But apart from all that (and much much more) there really is absolutely no erotic or sexual description of Hindu deities and we must ban anyone who says there is. Especially if the bajrang dal say so.

    15. Jai — on 30th May, 2006 at 6:45 pm  

      The bestiality issue is the main problem, I think. And yes I am familiar with the stories of Krishna and his gopis (quite humorous when you think of all those aunties singing away about it — I had to get someone to translate the lyrics to me when I heard some bhajans on the topic — considering how conservative some of them actually are about romantic issues in real life), along with Shiva and his marathon wedding night.

      =>”Especially if the bajrang dal say so.”

      I’m a Sikh and the Bajrang Dal has absolutely nothing to do with me — in fact I’m not exactly a big fan of those saffronist groups, as regular visitors to the Sepia Mutiny blog would confirm.

      Anyway, let’s not dig up this thread again. We can all agree to disagree, at least on the bestiality depictions, and leave it at that.

    16. Roger — on 30th May, 2006 at 7:05 pm  

      Bestiality seems to be a big part- symbolic, no doubt- of polytheism for some reason: Zeus was famously eclectic in how he appeared to mortal women and- a connection with Odinism- Odin’s horse Sleipnir had eight legs and was the offspring of Loki- a male god who became a mare- and a male horse. It’s not all fun and games this deity business, you know. A god’s gotta do what a god’s gotta do.

    17. Fundu Chadi — on 30th May, 2006 at 7:12 pm  

      there is a temple carving of a woman and a horse and a man and a bullock - does that count if the god is standing there watching them at it or if the woman-horse shenanigans (it really is not what you think and involves no intercourse but it really is too obscene to describe before 9pm) are taking place around the god. does it count if a vedanta scripture also proposes horse-women shenanigans? (i know ‘shenanigans’ is not the right word but my brain is clouded by visions of gods and animals; and my boss is staring at me and he is a real animal, even looks like a goat)

      anywey compare this Hindu tradition with *the actual paitings* done by mf. can’t see any bestiality there except in the perverted eyes of vhp - c

    18. xyz — on 30th May, 2006 at 7:48 pm  

      Oh Lord. The “modern” religionist at it again. Damn those castrated, impotent monotheistic desert gods. The minute they entered this world with their sour and dour visages, they set out to ruin everyone else’s fun because they just couldn’t get any and didn’t have any to get any.

    19. Sunny — on 30th May, 2006 at 10:04 pm  

      Any particular reason why you’re getting so touchy xyz?

    20. xyz — on 30th May, 2006 at 10:30 pm  

      Touchy? I thought I was fitting in with the whole fun spirit of the discussion on polytheism and bestiality and orgies and doing the deed and the like. I thought Fundu Chadi set an appropriate tone. You should know by now that I am on the side of the Odinist in the other post. Since the monotheists were giving their views on polytheists and the doings of their gods, I thought I would inject a suitably artistic analysis of monotheism and the reasons for a fear of art/fun/fair maidens/sex on the part of their god, prophet, whoever. You have to admit that the rise of monotheism kind of put a damper on all the poor “pagans”.:) “Pagans” are British too.

    21. xyz — on 30th May, 2006 at 10:49 pm  

      By the way, Fundu Chadi, I would recommend you read “The Religious Imagery of Khajuraho” by noted expert Dr. Devangana Desai so that you can be cured of some of your blindness that the erotic sculptures induced in one so unaccustomed to sensuality as you. But then again it requires an adult mind to read and understand it.

      “Dr. Desai establishes beyond doubt that it is time to delink Khajuraho’s sculptures from the Kamasutra, the secular handbook on love. She demonstrates that Khajuraho has erroneously become synonymous with erotic sculpture. Erotic sculpture, in fact, constitutes not even one-tenth of its imagery and indeed belongs, as in the case of other medieval temples, to a different tradition in which both religious and worldly interests merge. The religious imagery of Khajuraho far outweighs the erotic in numbers and importance, and iconology is the key to the understanding of the conceptual basis and the architectural and iconographic scheme of the temples.”

      So much for Khajuraho being “covered with deities doing much that would make you blind.” Or maybe you just read the “Khajuraho for Dummies” book.

    22. Fundu Chadi — on 31st May, 2006 at 1:10 pm  

      Dear xyz

      Thanks for this. I am no longer blind - I have the sight, I have the sight! I really must stop reading Khajuraho for Dummies - it was making me blind, filling my mind with nonsense about gods and animals and bonking and naughty, naughty things.

      Until you informed me, I had no idea that there was a confluence of the secular and the religious in Khajuraho’s erotic imagery / sculpture, nor did I know that ‘the religious outweighs the erotic’. I genuinely thought it was all prancing deities bonking away. I must pay more attention to my spiritual, religious side. Discipline! MUST - DISCIPLINE - MY - SELF - HAVE - TO - AVOID - NAUGHTY - THOUGHTS.

      Also, xyz, what is this critque of monotheism thing of yours about?

      (btw There is considerable Indian scholarship on K and T temples, as well as Jaina erotic art, that is pissed off at the sexualising ‘western’ fascination with the former, and that is partly where her book fits in, tho’ I’d say her arguments are a bit more subtle than your quote shows.)

    23. Kismet Hardy — on 31st May, 2006 at 1:29 pm  

      Why do you need to read a book written hundreds of years ago by men who couldn’t get laid to believe in yourself?

      Wisdom is knowing, religion is quoting

    24. Roger — on 31st May, 2006 at 2:04 pm  

      Wisdom is knowing we do not know, surely.

    25. Fundu Chadi — on 31st May, 2006 at 2:17 pm  

      But is it the known unknown or the unknown unknown - that is the question. Best to stick to old books, they have ALL the answers - neither void nor non-void, neither existence nor non-existence, neither presence nor absence.

      Kismet hardy - I think they did get laid a lot, and that is what is at dispute.

    26. Don — on 31st May, 2006 at 3:11 pm  

      …’I think they did get laid a lot…’

      But which ones got laid most? the Norse gods probably got a fair amount of hairy and malodorous knee-tremblers in the Asgaard car-park, but were unlikely to remember it in the morning. The Greeks seemed to have a fairly louche approach and no hang-ups about the sex or species of their partners, and the Hindus are front-runners for thinking up acrobatic variations.

      So which religion offers the best nookie? I’m not too impressed by the offer (subject to terms and conditions) of whatever number of virgins supposedly available in Islam. IMO, any bloke with a hang-up about virgins is probably insecure about comparisons, and missing out on the best.

      Do the Trinity triple date?

    27. Amir — on 31st May, 2006 at 3:22 pm  


      Controversial title? Disrespectful? Out-of-order? No, it most certainly isn’t. ‘Stumbling and Mumbling’ is one of my favourite blogs and a valuable source of data: PDF files, book references, online papers, risk heuristics, neologisms, etc. Mr. Dillow is a left-wing contrarian: independent, studious, articulate, and well-versed in economic theory (particularly the school-of-thought known collectively as ‘left-libertarianism’ - Steiner, Otsuka, Roemer, Elster, etc.). But today – and I say this in no disrespectful tone – Mr. Dillow has triangulated like the most triangular triangle. Let me refer you to two blog entries: 4 July 2005: Bugger Baghdad; 29 May 2006: Against Progressive Nationalism

      In ‘Bugger Baghdad,’ Mr. Dillow makes a startling confession:

      1(a) Right, confession time – I’m not interested in foreign affairs. Mention Iraq, Israel, or Korea to me, and the chances are I’ll switch off. My reaction to most of the posts and comments at Harry’s Place or Oliver Kamm is: just put in a sock in it, will you.

      Okay, fair enough. Chris justifies this by referring to the lack of accurate information and Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem (i.e. not knowing how to ascribe intentions or agency to groups such as ‘Israelis’ or ‘Sunnis’). Indeed, I think there is some merit in this Burkean scepticism: Evolutionary psychology, for example, stresses the instinct to favour one’s own vis-à-vis the notion of kin selection and reciprocal altruism. Social psychologists also argue that the tendency to perceive ‘in-groups’ and ‘out-groups’, however ephemeral, is innate. In ‘Against Progressive Nationalism’, however, Chris Dillow adopts a somewhat different tone:

      1(b) I find David Goodhart’s call for a “progressive nationalism” troubling… The mere fact of being born British gives you opportunities an African can hardly dream of: access to education, culture, science, medicine and job opportunities. Why should someone so lucky get even more, through welfare payments?

      Wow, what a transformation?! Mr. Dillow has shifted from Burkean scepticism to a liberal universalism that sees us in some sense equally obligated to all human beings, from Saint-Simon to Rousseau – an idea that is associated with the universalist aspects of Christianity and Islam, with Kantian cosmopolitanism and with left-wing internationalism. Here’s another thing he says:

      2 A few pounds given to an African can save a life. The same sum given to a Briton just buys a can of Special Brew.

      Yes – I know… It’s difficult to recite these facts without descending into an irksome tirade of tired clichés. But how far are you going to take this logic? If you deny the assumption that humans are social, group-based primates with constraints, however imprecise, on their willingness to share, you find yourself having to defend some implausible positions: For example, if person x spends £5000 on installing a new kitchen or building a new conservatory, is he/she not obliged to spend an equal amount on aid to Africa? Or more importantly, shouldn’t the government just abandon its 2012 Olympics project and give the billion dollar blank cheque instead to help fight famine in Niger? [In any case, Mr. Dillow cites no actual evidence to suggest that Goodhart’s model is anti-African or intrinsically hostile to international aid. And anyway, what the fuck has Sub-Saharan Africa got to do with Goodhart’s cogent thesis for ‘Britishness’? Who says that the two are mutually incompatible?]


    28. xyz — on 31st May, 2006 at 3:25 pm  

      “Also, xyz, what is this critque of monotheism thing of yours about?

      Basically, it’s time the self-proclaimed “one and onlys” had a session on the psychiatrist’s couch. Not getting laid with their fellow men (women are verboten) for centuries has resulted in some serious neuroses.

      “Thanks for this. I am no longer blind - I have the sight, I have the sight!”

      Hallelujah and praise the lord!

    29. Amir — on 31st May, 2006 at 5:35 pm  

      Predictably, Mr. Dillow ends his piece with a cute Marxist platitude about those ‘misunderstood’ immigrants and how they are wrongly blamed for the woes of the working-class:

      3 The efficient way of protecting them [poor people] is not ad hoc interventions against every threat, but - assuming we have obligations to the British poor - greater redistribution to relieve their poverty in the first place.

      We’ve all heard it before: immigrants aren’t to blame, it’s those evil, conniving capitalists!!! Blah, blah, blah. There are, of course, short-term benefits to steady immigration, but they do have a negative impact on the working-classes long-term: (a) For starters, it has speeded up the ‘ticking timebomb’ (state pensions vs. ageing population) for the simple reason that immigrants grow old, too. Managing an ageing society requires a package of later retirement, rising productivity and limited immigration. (b)While it is true that large-scale immigration of unskilled workers does allow native workers to bypass the dirtiest, smelliest, and most tiring jobs, it also increases inequality, does little for per capita growth, and skews benefits in the host population to employers and the better-off. (c) More significantly, however, immigration is not compatible with a generous welfare state. In Europe, with its much higher population density and planning controls, the rules have to be different. Unlike America (with its vast territory and economic individualism), we are condemned to share – the rich cannot ignore the poor, the indigenous cannot ignore the immigrant – but that does not mean people are always happy to share.

      Embarrassingly, Mr. Dillow utters not a single word about the social/cultural implications of lax immigration. For instance: (d) Lifestyle diversity brings cultural and economic dynamism, but it can erode feelings of mutual obligation, reducing willingness to pay tax and even encouraging a retreat from the public domain. (e) Moreover, since the arrival of immigrant groups from violent and illiberal cultures (Kashmir, Nigeria, Somalia, etc.), it has become clear that to remain ‘liberal’ the state may have to prescribe a clearer hierarchy of values. The US has tried to resolve the tension between liberalism and pluralism by developing a powerful national narrative. But trying to establish such a narrative here in Britain is fraught with difficulties because of the heavily-ingrained cultural Marxism known as ‘political correctness’ and the anti-British attitudes of the left-wing press.

      So no, Sunny. Stumbling’s article is not ‘right’ at all.


    30. Fundu Chadi — on 1st June, 2006 at 2:47 am  

      Don: ‘Malodorous knee-tremblers’ - you say it like its a bad thing. Not sure about louche greeks - bit of a myth if you ask me - more frumpy than louche. i’d do the trinity triple date thing, but then xyz might call me childish and immature about sexuality and sensuality and stuff like that.

      xyz: is it just the monos who deserve the couch - if so, the hindu anti-polys (eg vhp, achtung-rSS) deserve at least some lithium to go with their nice bouncy castle in the air - perhaps some ect as well. maybe a lobotomy, though i doubt that will make any actual difference. my brother used to go to rss shakhas for years and years, and look at him now - poor thing, in a padded cell, all quivering lips, knees a-tremble and scared of anything thin and scrawny poking out from khakhi knickers (no not that! i meant the usual specimen of rss manhood)

      i’m not convinced the monos are the only prob - think of vicars and tea and battenburg cake - they can be nice at times (when they aren’t making a beeline for your boobs and leaving a visible halitosis trail in their wake). mystic monos can be real fun too, all twirling and happy-clappy and really out there somewhere. but y’know, even if the monos got analysis, they would only end up with another neurosis or pathology (moses and mono / civ and its dis) and if the Freud Squad is right, then the polys have to be as repressed (women, caste, untouchability - or greeks and slaves and the poor barbaroi or the romans, the romans).

      so, xyx, since repression is simply going to just be there, maybe u and i together could start a global campaign to unite the polys and the monos and achieve world piece (what do you think? we could call it monopoly)

      I tend to think with all this monumental art and sculpture: how many people were made to die to make this for the kings and queens and priests? Brechtian of me, I know, but I have seen the light and the light is good and god is a gas and it smells awful.

    31. Sunny — on 1st June, 2006 at 3:15 am  

      Amir, on your last point..

      For starters, it has speeded up the ‘ticking timebomb’ (state pensions vs. ageing population) for the simple reason that immigrants grow old, too.

      Sure they do… but in the meanwhile you already have an ageing population. On top of that, immigrants may have a higher propensity to have kids faster. Or not.

      it also increases inequality, does little for per capita growth, and skews benefits in the host population to employers and the better-off.

      It may not increase inequality if:
      1) The substitute workers go on to better paid jobs that may also be more productive (as manual work is less productive than capital intensive work).
      2) Inflation and thus economic instability, is kept under check.
      3) It offers a better life to people from other countries, who then transfer some of that wealth back home, and may end up buying western goods, and thus everyone is a bit more richer.

      I think your analysis is too simplistic and reactionary.

    32. chris — on 1st June, 2006 at 10:58 am  

      Amir - your charge of hypocrisy doesn’t hold. When I say I’m not interested in overseas affairs, I mean I dislike global bigthink. This is entirely consistent with the belief that Iraqis (or any other nationality) have exactly the same moral status as Englishmen. Given the choice between saving the life of and African and giving a can of beer to an Englishman, I’d choose the former - and given scarce resources, we do have this choice.
      The belief in moral universalism and Burkean scepticism are consistent. I believe all humans are, a priori, equally entitled to consideration. But I’m sceptical about how best to promote such an amibtious ideal, which lies so far away from current practical politics.
      As Wittgenstein said, “a clear picture of a fuzzy thing is itself fuzzy.”

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