‘Let me tell you about the very rich,’ said F. Scott Fitzgerald. ‘They are different from you and me.’ Indeed they are. They can afford to live in London.
Any discussion of experiences which are not shared by trans women because they were not born with female bodies is liable to be denounced as ‘trans-exclusionary’. That was the reason why a US women’s college recently announced it would be discontinuing its annual performance of The Vagina Monologues: it’s exclusionary to talk about vaginas when some women do not have one. Last year a trans activist on Twitter denounced feminist campaigns against FGM as “cissexist”. Discussions of menstruation, pregnancy and abortion rights are all regularly interrupted by the same complaint.
You will do me the justice to remember, that I have always strenuously supported the Right of every Man to his own opinion, however different that opinion might be to mine. He who denies to another this right, makes a slave of himself to his present opinion, because he precludes himself the right of changing it.
People were expelled from the Party for speaking of a ‘negro girl’ or of a ‘black night’, for both ‘girl’ and ‘black’ had become magical taboo words, the use of which indicated that a white person had deep well of racism within him. The particular horror mounted to a point where dozens of Communists I knew avoided the company of all negroes, so terrified were they of taboo words or actions that could to expulsion. Work among negroes collapsed completely.
A belief that a misplaced word or awkward phrase reveals your opponent’s hidden meanings and unquestioned assumptions. The wised-up need only decode the slips, and the mask will be ripped off and everyone will see the oppressor’s true face.
A willingness to take offence that would make a Prussian aristocrat blink.
A determination to ban and punish speech that breaks taboos.
A resolve to lump disparate individuals into blocs – “the gays,” “the Muslims,” “women” etc – and to treat real and perceived insults to one as group defamations that insult all.
A self-pitying eagerness to cast yourself as a victim, and an accompanying narcissism, which allows you to tell others just how much you have suffered.
Her Cromwell is not quite a hero.
Spectator 7 February Speaking this weekend, Francois Hollande said, ‘If we don’t find a lasting peace agreement, we know perfectly well what the scenario will be. It has a name, it’s called war.’ The day before, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the former head of Nato, said that Russia was likely to intervene in the Baltic states to test NATO’s shaky commitment to collective defence. ‘This is not about Ukraine. Putin wants to restore Russia to its former position as a great power.’ As telling as anything leaders are saying are the films Russian reporters have been broadcasting – I must warn you that there are age controls on these links for reasons that will become obvious. Read the rest of this entry »
Nobody from John Humphrys in the morning to Evan Davis at night dares mention a scandal at the BBC. It undermines their reporting of every abuse whistleblowers reveal. It reinforces the dirty common sense of British life that you must keep your head down if you want to keep your job.
The scandal is simply this: the BBC is forcing out or demoting the journalists who exposed Jimmy Savile as a voracious abuser of girls. As Meirion Jones put it to me: “There is a small group of powerful people at the BBC who think it would have been better if the truth about Savile had never come out. And they aim to punish the reporters who revealed it.”
From the Observer 21 February 2015
The dishonesty of official crime policy cuts two ways. The authorities are treating men, women and, to their disgrace, children with deliberate cruelty. They are stuffing them into ever larger “super-prisons”, run by negligent private punishment corporations and dominated by criminal gangs. You cannot rehabilitate offenders in these anonymous warehouses, and the state’s promise to prisoners that it will try to divert them from a life of crime is nothing more than a pious lie.
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The Observer 7 February 2015
Today’s academics are like parents who expect the child they deserted to love them. The state is demanding that they spy on students who may have extreme ideas, but are not inciting violence. Panicked and outraged, intellectuals are embracing liberal principles they abandoned decades ago.
Twenty-four vice-chancellors wrote to the Times to protest that universities must be places where “lawful ideas can be voiced and debated without fear of reprisal”. So they should, but in Britain they are not. An army of 500 professors wrote to the Guardian to say campuses must be “centres for debate and open discussion, where received wisdom can be challenged”. That would make a welcome change too, because they are nothing of the sort at the moment. Peers in the House of Lords argued quite rightly that, rather than being banned from campuses, “non-violent extremists” should be “exposed, challenged and countered”. The noble lords forgot to point us to universities where such challenges can be found.
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