Thursday, April 03, 2008

Free Tibet in every packet

Tibet seems to be the latest decent cause du jour (as noted at the Decentpedia). Since my own knowledge is pretty limited, I'm going to limit myself to a couple of observations. First, the Decent narrative is, as ever, one of a people yearning to be free who are crushed by diabolical totalitarians. Well maybe. But note the contrast with other contexts where the Decents line themselves up on the side of the forces of modernity against the the remnants of medieval servitude. If the Decent tardis went back to 1949, who is to say that they wouldn't have been denouncing the lamas in terms currently reserved for Qaradawi and the Taliban and lining up with the Chinese Communist Party, as the representatives of "progress"? (cf also the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, of course.) Second, I note that they are busy recycling the claim that the Chinese have killed 1.2 million Tibetans. A few moments googling tells me that this claim is hardly uncontroversial, to say the least. More to the point, how come the Decents recycle such factoids uncritically when it suits their agenda, but express pop-eyed incredulity when standard techniques produce answers they don't like for Iraqi excess deaths?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well at least their support for Tibet is consistent with their silence about Saudi Arabia, another bastion of medieval servitude.

Or is that trying to start a Will-You-Condemn-A-Thon ...

It's typical that Flanker gets some stick for bringing up Colombia, Egypt and Israel. We get accused of moral equivalence, yet the US record of invasions is ignored. Even though our chance of influencing Western policy (however small) is still a good deal greater than influencing Chinese policy.

4/03/2008 03:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One funny thing about the Tibet business is that has the Dalai Lama on the "bad guy" side. Perhaps they didn't get the memo?

4/03/2008 05:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, the link to looked OK when I hit "preview."

4/03/2008 05:37:00 PM  
Blogger Benjamin said...

The issue of Tibet's independence/autonomy is an argument that gets bogged down; the real issue for me is CCP one party rule in China, something that needs to be apposed and fought against by Decents and Indecents alike. Its certainly fought against by Chinese democrats and human rights activists in China itself - and they are imprisoned, harassed or put under surveillance for their pains. China has one of the worst human rights records on earth.

I am sure many guests will be on their best behaviour at the Olympic Games, happily kowtowing to their hosts and cheerily lapping up CCP propaganda. Liberals with backbone though should spare a thought for those suffering under the oppression and misery still meted out by the CCP today.

4/04/2008 01:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems to be that the Decents - those that you see on HP and similar blogs - are just the mirror image of the 'anti-western', 'anti-imperialist', 'totalitarian' left that they affect to despise. That they see 'one left' in opposition to their own true path of enlightenment is most of the problem and I certainly don't recognise myself in their caricature of the anti-war left or 'stoppers'. Reading HP it reminds me of political debates in my JCR 25 years ago, dominated by what we would have called the 'hard left' in those days. All the nerds at HP appear to have done is swapped one ideology for another but have kept all the disingenuous debating tricks and tendency towards fueding that they had when on the other side. Then I was a left social democratic type who then as now would have opposed jingostic wars, privatisation and PFIism and petty authoritarianism (ID Cards, 42 days detention, banning BDSM porn, etc, etc). In those days the teenage proto-decent would have called me a 'fascist'. Now as a smug 40-something decent blogger he still calls me a 'fascist' for completely different reasons.

All that's wrong with the Decents' cockeyed view of their position in the world was illustrated by the ellipse of political positions that appeared in HP the other days and brilliantly satirised on the Encylopedia of Decency. The sad thing is, they really believe this shit.

4/04/2008 10:40:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

Up to a point. However, as I have said a few times in these comments boxes, it's omitting something important to simply see the Decents as ex-far-leftists still doing the denouncing thing. There's also a strong element of red-baiting which has always been used against the left and the far left and which was certainly around, really quite virulently, when I was a young far-leftist twenty or twenty-five years ago.

If people don't appreciate this it's possible it's because they've never been on the receiving end themselves where it's come from their Right: one of the consequences of there being such broad-based opposition to the Iraq War, I think, is that you could find yourself called an appeaser and a fascist pretty much wherever you stand on the political spectrum.

4/04/2008 12:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's also a strong element of red-baiting which has always been used against the left and the far left and which was certainly around, really quite virulently, when I was a young far-leftist twenty or twenty-five years ago

Fair point. I was never on the far left so the first time I experienced the full force of vitriolic name calling was when I put my head above the parapet to condemn the preparations for the Iraq war. I had an old university friend to works for MOD, who was very strongly pro-war and pro-NuLabour, who called me anti-semitic to my face for opposing the war. I haven't spoken to him for five years since that incident. I guess all of this has made me much more left wing than I was.

4/04/2008 12:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Given that Marko has designated Russia as ‘fascist’ but Chechens are islamofascist who should I support?


4/04/2008 03:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Arr you countign Johann Hari as a decent still then? Discuss.

4/05/2008 01:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it really funny how Decency, especially Hary's Place, styles itself on 'telling people what they don't want to hear' and yet they are probably bigger whores to whatever the latest issue is in the news than anyone else.

They've only started going on about tibet, really, in the last few months, now it's comprehensivly on the international radar - and Nick Cohen managed to parrot not tibet but the Darfur reason for an Olympic boycott, which he only write a column about because of something Steven Spielberg did.

Ditto the month when Lee Jasper became the most hated man on Harry's Place - the Decent bat-signal was fired not by their own tireless commitment to true left-wing politics, journalism and investigation, but by partisan reporting in the Evening Standard about someone they happen to dislike.

4/07/2008 04:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Think you guys may have this one wrong. Tibet is a (genuine) left-wing cause, so its hard to use it against the Decents. Now, if they were angling for an invasion of China based on Tibet, it'd probably fit the Decent Left narrative. But as it is, standing with the Tibetans who want autonomy seems to be the, er, decent thing to do. Your post seems criticism for criticisms' sake, when, as you know, Decents, ike a stopped clock get it right occasionally.

4/07/2008 07:15:00 PM  

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