Thursday, July 28, 2011

As promised...

Someone must have been telling lies about the homosexual community, because one fine day, without having done anything wrong, it was subjected to a vitriolic attack in the Daily Mail.

In other words, some more on Mad Mel. How the West was lost (mostly being "I hate everything Pim Fortuyn stood for, apart from hating Muslims"). It's a goldmine for quotes, so weird scenes follow.

Almost half of 18 to 30 year-olds in a Dutch poll said they favoured zero Muslim immigration. Just like Fortuyn, the young understood that their precious free and easy lifestyle was threatened by rising numbers of people who were not prepared to tolerate it. In the capital of social tolerance, the threat of such intolerance was simply intolerable.

Muslims not only despise western secular values as decadent, materialistic, corrupt and immoral. They do not accept the distinction between the spiritual and the temporal, the division which in Christian societies confines religion to the margins of everyday life. Instead, for Muslims the whole of human life must represent a submission to God.

That 'Christian' is rather odd, isn't it?

But the problem is that it does not just oppose libertinism. Having never had a 'reformation' which would have forced it to make an accommodation with modernity, it is fundamentally intolerant and illiberal. As a result, it directly conflicts with western values in areas such as the treatment of women, freedom of speech, the separation of private and public values, and tolerance of homosexuality.

These are all liberal fundamentals and are not negotiable. Tolerance of homosexuality is rightly an article of liberal faith. What people do in their private sex lives should be of no concern to others. So Fortuyn was right to highlight this as a major stumbling block to Muslim integration.

According to Wikipedia, modernity started at about 1500. Luther started the Protestant Reformation in 1517. This is a long time before women became equal to men before the law. How the Reformation affected decidedly non-Protestant countries (Italy, Poland, France, Spain etc) isn't discussed. Switzerland is "divided between the Catholic Church (41.8% of the population) and various Protestant denominations (35.3%)." "Women were granted the right to vote in the first Swiss cantons in 1959, at the federal level in 1971[26][37] and, after resistance, in the last canton Appenzell Innerrhoden in 1990." Women got the vote in Iran in 1963. I don't see any evidence of the Reformation having an effect. The data seems almost random.

So, apart from Islam, Catholicism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Paganism, you know who else hasn't had a reformation? Coming up, the best use of the word 'and' I've seen this month.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews hurled bags of foul-smelling liquid and threats of hellfire at marchers in Jerusalem's annual gay pride march on Thursday but the event passed without serious violence.

Almost worthy of Wodehouse.

In 2005, an ultra-Orthodox Jew stabbed three participants in the march and was subsequently sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews consider the event to be an abomination and desecration of the Holy City.

Police estimated the number of marchers this year at 3,000 and said that 1,000 police were deployed to keep order.

Although the march was routed away from predominantly ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods, a small number of protesters held placards, including one reading, "Gays, they are waiting for you in hell."

Other opponents brought donkeys, symbolizing their view of homosexuality as "a beastly act".

Thankfully, the Israeli press treat the Ultra-Orthodox as a source of amusement, which in a secular and technocratic country, they are. But there you go, another bunch of religious headbangers who "do not accept the distinction between the spiritual and the temporal" and who don't tolerate other's lifestyles even if those lifestyles don't encroach on them.

Mad Mel again, back to Christianity, although everything 'modern' really goes back to the rediscovery of Greek philosophy.

For the further western society retreats from its core morality, the more it opens the way for Islam to fill the gaps left by Christianity in full flight from its own beliefs.

(To understand her use of 'core morality here, you need to have read her Normblog profile: "Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? The Torah, which defines my moral outlook." As far as I can tell, she regards morality and religiosity as the same thing.)

But this isn't true. One can name a successful country where most people are atheist: Israel. The further any society retreats from religion, the better it becomes.

Mad Mel's lack of self-knowledge and her willingness to use "they're all homophobic, you know" and "they hate women, you know" against Islam, while missing that similar traits a very common among extremists of all creeds (including Fred Phelps, Anders Breivik).

Help, help, I'm being oppressed! (Damn, I've forgotten who on Twitter noted that she never shuts up.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"One can name a successful country where most people are atheist: Israel"

The linked post doesn't seem to support the "most" part of this, and wiki agrees:
"As of 2009, 8% of Israeli Jews defined themselves as Haredim; an additional 12% as "religious"; 13% as "religious-traditionalists" ; 25% as "non-religious-traditionalists" (not strictly adhering to Jewish law or halakha); and 42% as "secular" (Hebrew: חִלּוֹנִי‎‎, Hiloni).[6] As of 1999, 65% of Israeli Jews believe in God,[7] and 85% participate in a Passover seder.[8] However, other sources indicate that between 15% and 37% of Israelis identify themselves as either agnostics or atheists.[9][unreliable source?]"

8/02/2011 09:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Asteri said...

Switzerland (the world most democratic country) holds referenda on just about everything, in times when only men had the vote, they kept voting in referendums not to grant it to women to 1971 - that democracy for you!

8/02/2011 11:57:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

Switzerland (the world most democratic country)

Provided that we bear in mind (or perhaps don't) that a substantial proportion of its workforce, as in some Middle Eastern countries, is from abroad and has no vote.

8/02/2011 01:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Jonathan said...

Not the least irony here is that the values MP promotes overlap considerably with those (perhaps stereotypically) associated with the "Muslim community" - an assertion of religion as a bedrock of moral values against secularism, monogomy and the sanctity of marriage as life-long commitment and so on. As far as I can remember, by the end of her time at the Obs every column seemed to be berating dastardly liberals for permitting divorce to flourish and destroying marriage as the only institution in which children could be raised [1]. She also enthusiastically promoted in the early/mid 90s the phenomenon of Muslim elders in Birmingham taking it upon themselves to clean up their neighbourhoods by driving away street workers (you'll have to trust me on this one - pre-website days). She accepted no suggestions that street workers might also have rights (or credible reports that the harrassment extended to local women simply dressed up for a night out).
[1] How times change - I largely gave up reading the Obs back then in part because MP was so annoying and read the Sindy instead. I switched back to the Obs when they signed a Nick Cohen on a transfer deal (and, less controversially, Ian Ridley as football correspondent)

8/02/2011 04:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Asteri said...

"Provided that we bear in mind (or perhaps don't) that a substantial proportion of its workforce, as in some Middle Eastern countries, is from abroad and has no vote."

your telling me, It took my cousin 18 years of living, working and being married to Swiss national before she got her Swiss passport.

8/02/2011 06:26:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

and, less controversially, Ian Ridley as football correspondent

I stopped reading the Independent on Sunday when Ridley turned the sports pages into a Manchester United fanzine.

8/03/2011 08:37:00 AM  

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