Plain Words about “Islamist Extremism” by Sean Gabb

Plain Words about “Islamist Extremism”
By Sean Gabb

According to The Daily Telegraph, “[o]ne of the most serious challenges facing [England] is that of tackling religious extremism.” Apparently, some of the Moslems here are attempting “to seal Islamic communities off hermetically from the rest of society.” They are taking over state schools in the areas where they are settled, and imposing on them their own ideas of curriculum and behaviour. Girls are made to sit at the back of the class. Evolution is not taught. Christmas and Easter are not celebrated. Instead, there is fasting during Ramadan, and the call to prayer sounds through the playground. We are all supposed to think this very wicked and in need of action by the British State.

I disagree. Mass-immigration has not, by any reasonable standard, been a success. Even before it started, anyone with half a brain could have seen what was coming. Many people did see, and only stiff laws and a controlled media have been enough to keep the volume of complaint to a low rumble. It may be encouraging that the ruling class has finally chosen to notice and deplore some of the consequences. But I am not encouraged. The media drumbeat against “Islamist extremism” and “radicalisation” is not, I think, the prelude not to a frank discussion of where we are, but to the finishing off of what freedom remains in this country.

The phrase “Islamist extremism” may be fair comment. The mosques do seem to be filling up with ranting clerics, and with young men in beards who hang on their every word. More disturbing, though, than this change in itself is how politicians and the media have agreed to analyse it in quasi-medical terms. For example, Ofsted – a body set up by the Blair Government to control both public and private education – is claiming that schools do too little to “keep students safe from the risks associated with extremist views.”

Boris Johnson, the “Conservative” Mayor of London, goes further. For him, “[t]he most important question now is how we prevent other young men, and women, from succumbing to that awful virus: the contagion of radical Islamic extremism.”

Some respect has always been paid in England to the right to hold and communicate opinions. Epidemic diseases, on the other hand, are a matter of public health – of quarantine and vaccination, and even of compulsory treatment. Insist firmly enough that opinions are an illness, and censorship and brainwashing become therapy.

And, if unwelcome, these are opinions. Let us look at the nature of “Islamist extremism.” Its core message can be expressed in three propositions:

1. That the British State is committed to an American-led campaign of war and destabilisation throughout the Islamic world, and shares responsibility for millions of civilian deaths and maimings there;

2. That it is the duty of Moslems everywhere to come to the aid of their brothers and sisters when they are attacked;

3. That modern British society is so degenerate that the only moral response is to keep away from it.

These are not unreasonable propositions. The first is obviously true. After 1945, we put much of the Islamic world under the sway of brutally despotic puppet regimes, and kept these in place with arms and diplomatic support. More recently, we have been systematically replacing these regimes with failed states. You need to be stupid or a liar to claim that the Islamic world has any inherent capacity for liberal democracy. But if it has become a row of slagheaps reeking with human blood, that is largely our fault.

The second proposition is at least creditable. I wish it were interpreted less often as a duty for young men to blow themselves up in railway carriages, or to murder off-duty soldiers. To be fair, though, it hardly ever is. No one can say that the Moslems are harmoniously integrated into our national life. But the half dozen terrorist acts they have committed in all the years they have been settled among us are nothing set against the campaign of atrocity waged against us by Sinn Fein/IRA. So long as it is displayed with prudence, solidarity with your own is a fine thing. We might usefully learn some for the support of our kith and kin in Southern Africa and of our fellow Christians in places like Egypt and Pakistan.

Anyone who doubts the third proposition should try watching some British television, or looking at our newspapers. It may be that memorising reams of Koranic verses in Arabic will tend to narrow the understanding. But there are worse ways to bring up a child.

Our ruling class disagrees. The Education Secretary, Michael Gove – another “Conservative” – holds to the public health analysis. He has decreed that children are, by way of vaccination, to be taught “British values,” and that these include “democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect, and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.”

Fine words – a pity about their meaning. In modern England, democracy is the right to choose between competing sets of rogues, all with identical policies. The rule of law resides in half a million pages of chicanery and oppression. Individual liberty? The question mark alone answers that one. Respect and tolerance? Ditto. The “British values” children are to have rammed down their throats are nothing more than a duty of boundless obedience to the ruling class. Perhaps this has always been one of the functions of state education. But I cannot think of a ruling class in English history more risible in its quality, or hostile to the interests and values of ordinary people.

The Moslems are to be vaccinated out of their opinions. If that fails, they are to be medicated with the theft of their children. See Boris Johnson again: “A child may be taken into care if he or she is being exposed to pornography, or is being abused – but not if the child is being habituated to this utterly bleak and nihilistic view of the world that could lead them to become murderers.” Warming to his theme, he continues: “The law should obviously treat radicalisation as a form of child abuse. It is the strong view of many of those involved in counter-terrorism that there should be a clearer legal position, so that those children who are being turned into potential killers or suicide bombers can be removed into care – for their own safety and for the safety of the public.”

On the face of it, this is not an idle threat. The British State has a settled appetite for stealing children from their parents. In 2013, it even allowed its officials to cause an international incident. Allesandra Pacchieri, an Italian woman, came to England while heavily pregnant to attend a training course. She was a little too honest with the airport security about her mental health. Arrested and driven to a hospital, she was held down by the police, while social workers ordered the doctors to perform a caesarean. The child was taken straightaway into care. Despite outrage from the Italian authorities, she has never seen her child, and it has now been adopted by unnamed strangers.

Or there is the peculiar case of two Slovak Gypsy children. After allegations of “neglect,” they were taken from their parents and given for adoption by a homosexual couple. The parents went into court, claiming that homosexuality was regarded in their culture as an abomination, and that the children should be given back. Their case was dismissed by Lord Justice Munby, President of the Family Division. He explained that, while any judge should “respect the opinions of those who come here from a foreign land,” he had to judge matters according to English law and by reference to “the standards of reasonable men and women in contemporary English society.”

This is one of those cases that leaves you scratching your head. Does it show the current positioning here within the pc “hierarchy of the oppressed?” Do gay rights now trump anti-racism? Or is it an inventive way of telling East European Gypsies to go away and find some other rich country to pay their welfare benefits? Whatever the answer, Mr Johnson’s call for Moslem children to be stolen from their parents may be worth taking seriously.

Or is it? Look again at Proposition 2 above. Moslems believe in solidarity, and they practise solidarity. In August 2007, Haroon Zafaryab returned from prayers in a North London mosque to find that his car had been clamped, and that he would have to pay a £100 fine, plus £265 to have it released. He refused to pay and sat in his car, taking advantage of a law that prevents a vehicle from being towed away whole someone is inside it. For the next thirty hours, he and the clamping authorities faced each other down. His other three wheels were clamped, and he was given more parking tickets that added up to £3,565. Mr Zafaryab got the full support of his community. Dozens of people stood round his car. Others brought him food and drink. In the end, the authorities accepted a token payment of £100, before running away.

When did a native Englishman last get this level of support? More to the point, can you imagine how many armed police would be needed to cover the removal of one child from a family of Islamic enthusiasts? For all they may huff and puff, the rulers of this country are cowards. They are willing to preside over mass-murder abroad. Threaten them with a good riot here, and they always back down.

So, what actually is happening with all this propaganda about opinions as a matter of public health? Well, I have limited evidence, but I do suspect that the apparent panic over “Islamist extremism” is a front for something else. This something else is probably a set of laws and procedures to legitimise the theft of children from white dissidents.

Though the BNP has collapsed, the UK Independence Party is doing well. Ignoring it has failed. Lies about its leaders and policies have failed. An alternative strategy would be to attack its activist base. This has already been attempted. In 2013, Rotherham City Council removed three children from the care of foster parents who were known UKIP activists. The officials said this presented a “safeguarding issue for the children.” On this occasion, the Council had to step back – uttering the usual claim that “lessons had been learned.” But the secret of government in this country is that the authorities are concentrated and homogenous in their opinions. We natives are mostly atomised and indifferent to what is done to others. Sooner or later, the war on “Islamist extremism” will be revealed as the fraud that it largely is. Then the inquisition our rulers are setting up to public acclaim will be turned loose on its real object – namely us.

And so, I denounce the war on “Islamist extremism.” Anyone who thinks men like Michael Gove and Boris Johnson are standing up to political correctness is a fool – as big a fool as those who believe that diversity is strength.

43 responses to “Plain Words about “Islamist Extremism” by Sean Gabb

  1. It’s long been said that all the wars on say (terror, poverty, drugs, porn, obesity, binge drinking etc.) are really wars on us.

  2. 3. That modern British society is so degenerate that the only moral response is to keep away from it.
    Anyone who doubts the third proposition should try watching some British television, or looking at our newspapers.

    I know this is my classic annoying thing of picking on one minor point in an article about something else, but honestly, we are not going to get anywhere until we stop falling for this Progressivist trick of making us hate ourselves as a population. We are not a morally degenerate scum on the verge of collapse. We are doing fine. Please stop it.

    • Ian, we may be doing fine.

      But that’s despite what the British State has deliberately done, deliberately does and will continue to do, in regard to the repellent public boratcasting environment that it allows and enforces, as one way of limiting the terms of public discourse.

  3. You answer your own point Sean. The state isn’t going to take on muslims. Nor would we have to put up with any shit if we stood together.

  4. Peter Watson

    You ask “When did a native Englishman last get this level of support?

    The answer is “never” because the English are so afraid to “make a fuss” because “what can you do?” or “it won’t do any good…” that the authorities treat them like shit and they frankly deserve it.

    Until those who whine about the TV License (isn’t that the entire population which bothers to pay it?) stop paying it and stand up for themselves, England will continue to be spiritually assaulted.

    The Long March through the Institutions has happened and the Enemy appears to have won. I say appears because the GBP seems to be clearing its throat. I don’t have the confidence any longer to believe anything will come of it, because the Long March has stripped the Church of God, marriage of Dignity, the Schools of History and Truth, and the BBC has spat venom at those who love their race, nation and God, for so long it is a parody of the Fabian Society.

    In the end, there will be an end and it will be very unpleasant. “They have called upon that in which they do not believe and it has come.”

  5. Peter Watson

    I need to edit that about the TV license as a part was missed out – what I mean is if the people feel strongly about something as tertiary as the TV License and won’t do anything, then they will hardly try and stop Sharia Law and the BBC, and all the other ghastliness which emits from the Borg.

  6. The Muslims are not part of Britain, not by race, religion or tradition. Those enclaves with their radical Islamist schools are a country within a country that successive governments’ immigration policy has created. They live by their own rules and traditions. The state has no “right” to remove children from this environment, no more than it has a right to go into Pakistan or Saudi Arabia and remove children from families there. These Muslim communities are in Britain only in the geographical sense, and in the sense that they enjoy the rights and protections granted by British laws and Institutions – a respect they have no intention of reciprocating.

    I don’t know if Johnson or Gove are such jackasses as they seem to be, thinking the problem can be solved by nanny-state interference. What is certain is that the ruling class who created this situation knew what they were doing when they allowed millions of alien people to settle in Britain.

    • Rob says:-
      “What is certain is that the ruling class who created this situation knew what they were doing when they allowed millions of alien people to settle in Britain.”
      Sean and I have been saying this for years. The main problem is that nobody listened at first, because everyone said: “Oh, this is Britain, nothing like what you’re saying can happen here.”
      Then, we said it all again later, and they replied: “Oh, well, all these control freaks are unintelligent and don’t understand the silliness of their plans”.
      These days, we continue to say it, and they now reply: “Careful, sonny – you’ll end up in trouble for saying stuff like that.”

      • I just had the strangest dream. I was apparently the leader of the Tory Party, and I had to debate Ed Miliband. Except instead of being in a TV studio, we were just sitting in this rather sparse room, and there was a hidden camera, but Ed wouldn’t tell me where it was. However, Ed in my dream was only a teenaged boy and continually acted in such a juvenile manner that I was certain I was winning at least on presentation. Until I looked down and realised I’d got no trousers on. At which point, I woke up.

        I don’t know what this means, but I suspect that it means something.

        • It means that these awful people get further up our noses than they deserve, and yet they still have all the guns, so we are stuck with the bastards.

          • Ah yes, that’ll be it David :)

            • Imagine, then, trying to pick one’s nose and then finding that the bogies taste of real socialism. … You know, Ian- the FabiaNazi kind, not the watered-down stuff that Lenin and Stalin served up to the planet. No, the real deal, the ultimate Utopian sort. Brave New World and all that shit.

              How horrible would that be then.

  7. To say that it is “obviously true” that there has been an American and British campaign of “war and destabilising throughout the Islamic world” that has resulted in “millions of deaths” is just Sean Gabb being a liar (which you so often are Sean).

    At least when you worked for the Islamic regime of the Sudan you had a financial reason for your activities, now you are just lying out of sheer love of being “naughty”.

    You do not (I hope) wish to cause any deaths by spreading the propaganda of the enemy – you simply do not care. To you the desire to be naughty (to say “shocking” untrue things) trumps everything else – like a little boy who takes his pants down and bares his backside when little girls walk by.

    In reality many of the vile regimes in the Middle East came to be as the result of coups that were anti Western. They were certainly not the fault of the West.

    Egypt in 1952. Iraq in 1958. Syria in 1963, Libya in 1969 (and so on).

    As for the House of Saud – thank “Kim” Philby’s father (a socialist mischief maker like his murdering son) he was sent to Arabia back in the 1930s to oppose the House of Saud (which was trying to take over) and decided to support them (out of a sense of “naughtiness” as much as anything). By 1945 (the famous meeting between a senile President Roosevelt and the King of Saudi Arabia) the House of Saud had been in power for more than a decade (accepting them was considered the “realistic” “non interventionist” thing to do).

    Nor does the article mention the central point about Islam (from the time of Mohammed onwards). Islam makes world claims – to a believing Muslim (a follower of the teachings and life of Mohammed) Birmingham should (as soon as is practical) be as much under Islamic law as Aleppo should be.

    That is why it makes (in the end) little sense to talk of Islamic “extremists” or “Islamists” (although I am guilty of using both these terms myself).

    Either someone believes in the teachings and life example of Mohammed – or they do not.

    Thankfully many “Muslims” do not really believe this – they are simply people born into Muslim families.

    So the real divide is not between “Muslims and radical Muslims” (as the British and American governments believe – they are totally wrong in this view), but (rather) between nominal Muslims (people who may engage in prayer and so on – but are not really interested in the battle tactics of Mohammed, or how to send out killers to eliminate hostile poets and so on) – and those who seek to follow the example of Mohammed (those who get interested in the faith and seek to actively bring it to power in the world).

    Mohammed was a soldier and politician of genius (as well as being a great poet and so on) – but he (or someone who is trying to be like him) is not a good person to have living anywhere near by.

  8. Brooks Alexander

    Another look at the political dynamics behind the underlying issue:

    “”Tyranny is never a remedy for terror. Tyranny is terror. Tyranny and terror promote and multiply each other so well because each is the other’s only possible ‘legitimation’… The choice between terror and totalitarianism is a choice that can only be made – can only be identified as a choice – by terrorists and tyrants.” — Carl Oglesby; from The Yankee and Cowboy War, Ch. 2

  9. Regarding the state using this as a way to further circumscribe the scope of the allowable for the domestic population, you may wish to look at these items linked. Even private schools will now be able to be shut down, their management proscribed, if they do not teach those things the state demands:

    • I believe the teaching of evolution is about to become compulsory. If so, I will write on this.

      • Oh, I didn’t know that: my info is that the case is the opposite.

        For, the bastards have been promoting Lamarckianism in British high schools (cleverly and indirectly, as “an alternative point of view” – not mentioning the decades of difference in the times the different science-buggers wrote their various books and papers) – for years.

        All they have to do it teach that it’s “right” (as far as we can currently know on the basis of evidence) in that it is right now the “least bad” theory that tries to model the observed behaviour of the Earth’s geology and the creatures that get buried inside that thing as it “goes around and comes around”.

  10. It was not “tyranny” for British soldiers to sacrifice their lives to (for example) defend Oman from savages who would have destroyed civilisation (including the private ownership of means of production, distribution and exchange) there (as savages have done in so much of the Middle East). Nor was this a long time ago – I can remember it well, as can Dr Gabb.

    I will cut some people on this site some slack, for example some of the people here “do not know their arse from their elbow” so it is pointless for me to get annoyed with them.

    But Sean Gabb is not in that group, Sean knows perfectly well that the “obvious truth” that the state of the Middle East since 1945 is the fault of wicked Western aggression is a LIE.

    Sean knows that there is no Western campaign of aggression “throughout the entire Islamic world” that the West has NOT murdered millions of Muslims (and on and). Yet Sean Gabb chooses to pretend that the lies of the terrorists are an “obvious truth” – thus justifying their Islamic terrorism.

    This is why Sean has irritated me a bit.

  11. On the theory of evolution.

    I believe the theory to be true (and. like James McCosh. I see no contradiction between it and Christianity – indeed many of the original “Fundamentalist” writers of the early 1900s also did not see any contradiction).

    As for Islam.

    Islam does not seek to “opt out” of the wider world (Islam is not like some “ultra Orthodox” Jewish sect, or like the Amish and other Christian sects) Islam seeks to RULE the wider world. That is what Islam is about and has been since the days of Mohammed.

    Mohammed was not some hermit in a cave, nor was he a spokesman for a commune. Mohammed was political leader and soldier – one of genius. And those who follow him seek to be like him.

    For example, a Jewish Mayor of New York City (there have been several) would be thought insane (by his fellow Jews) if he tried to impose Jewish religious law upon the city. An Islamic Mayor of New York City would be thought a traitor (an apostate) if he did NOT work (as far as was practical – given the tactical situation) to impose Islamic law upon the city.

    Sean Gabb knows all the above about Islam as well as I do – which is why his “three propositions” are a DELIBERATE evasion of the truth.

  12. Of course just because I believe the theory of evolution to be true does NOT mean that I think that teaching it should be compulsory.

    Of course it should NOT be compulsory in schools that parents send their children to at their own expense (or at the expense of those who wish to give charitably to education).

  13. Magnificent. One of Sean’s greatest assets imo has always been his ability to transcend libertarian dogma whilst giving a genuinely libertarian criticism of mainstream politics and society.

    In other words, I suppose, I often agree with what he writes.

    I see no happy solution to the situation. Significant foreign minorities were imported into this country, and continue to be imported. Until and unless those minorities are successfully integrated, we are no longer the kind of reasonably homogenous national society that can and will mostly tolerate free speech and personal liberty. We lack the sheer space and hunger for population that would allow the US melting pot model to be applied. The future seems likely to be one of ever increasing state control, with children more or less openly held to be state assets, merely conditionally warded by parents so long as they comply with elite rules with regard to upbringing and indoctrination.

    I see no real hope, only relief that I won’t live to see the full consequences. The only useful approach is a proper attitude of resentment and vengeful hatred towards those who enabled this situation and continue to promote it. As someone who for decades self-identified as a libertarian, I suppose I ought to punch myself on the nose. It’s hardly an excuse that libertarians who supported many of the steps towards the disastrous end, never intended those steps to be used in the way they were, or failed to anticipate the wider context. If libertarians failed to understand the disastrous results of mass immigration, many others did. If libertarians refused to recognise the slippery slope that would follow on from legalisation of homosexual activity, or to foresee the illiberal activities of the homosexual activity lobbies, many others did.

  14. “brutally despotic puppet regimes”.

    Like the Parliament of Egypt and the playboy King?

    Like the Constitutional Monarchy of Iraq?

    Like King Idris in Libya?

    If only the West HAD defended these governments “kept them in place” – the truth is that we did NOT (these governments fell – and were replaced by anti Western monsters, who swept away all institutions and robbed and slaughtered the local people).

    What you wrote Sean was not just a lie – it was the exact opposite of the truth.

    If the West has any moral responsibility for the various countries of the Middle East being turned into “slag heaps of death” it was because we did not defend our friends (not because we did).

    It is too late now – but it was not always too late.

    And as the poet Philip Larkin pointed out at the time – those who are money mad (and will not spend the money “East of Suez” -or West of Suez for that matter) find out (too late) that letting down your friends costs a lot more money (and LIVES) in the end.

    Keeping faith is not cheap (in money or blood) – but breaking faith (betraying people) costs a lot more in the end.

    The American betrayal of Indochina (Vietnam, Laos and especially Cambodia – where pro Mao Communists, rather than pro Soviet Communists, took power) springs to mind.

    Real “slag heaps of death” – hills of human skulls, made up of people who were promised (a thousand times) that they would be supported, whose every plan of defence depended on American air support and supplies.

    Air support and supplies that suddenly was not there (because of the perversions of American domestic politics).

    Millions of human beings who died betrayed.

    Other people should take note – and make sure their plans of defence do NOT depend on American (or British) support. Support that may suddenly not be there – when they need it most.

    • Talk about rewriting history, Marks. For instance, Idris could never have become king without Britain, so how do you know what would have happened without Britain imposing Idris in the first place? Clearly your idea of truth depends very much on selective reasoning… much in the same manner as the typical collectivist and their utopian bullshit.

  15. Paul Marks

    King Idris “brutally despotic”?

    And the government of Egypt (overthrown by a military coup in 1952) “brutally despotic”?

    And the Constitutional Monarchy of Iraq (overthrown by a military coup in 1958) “brutally despotic”.

    It was, in fact, the enemies of these governments (the enemies of Britain) who proved to be “brutally despotic”.

    I do not know you Mr Pate – you may be sincerely ignorant.

    However, I do know Sean Gabb – and he knows that the anti British (indeed anti Western) propaganda he writes is a tissue of LIES.

    LIES which terrorists use to justify their attacks.

    • Marks, you’re twisting my words to say something other than what hey mean and/or your comprehension of English is practically zero.

      • Paul Marks

        I am not twisting anything Mr Pate. In fact I was provoked by “twisting”.

        Sean Gabb claims, as my original comment (and subsequent comments) pointed out, that the lies with which Islamic terrorists attempt to justify their attacks are “obviously true”. When he (Sean Gabb) knows that their position is actually obviously FALSE.

        You may want to change the subject Mr Pate – but I am not going to change the subject.

        It was in fact the ENEMIES of Britain who were “brutally despotic” (who did so much to destroy the private ownership and civil use of large scale means of production, distribution and exchange) – the savage criminals who took over Egypt after 1952, Iraq after 1958, Libya after 1969 (and so on). And who tried to take over such countries as Oman – but were prevented from doing so by the heroic sacrifice of British servicemen (notably from the Special Air Service – but not exclusively so).

        This sacrifice Sean Gabb chooses to urinate upon. And he is not making some innocent mistake (as he knows how men sacrificed their lives in the fight against totalitarianism) – it is deliberate.

        In the past Dr Gabb may have had good financial reason (the support of his family) for spreading the lies of the enemy, no such excuse applies at the present time. Dr Gabb spreads the lies of the enemy (calls them “obviously true”), spreads their excuses for their attacks upon the West, simply out of a desire to be “naughty”.

        • Marks you still haven’t answered my point – Britain put Idris in power in the first place, the reaction to that was Gaddafi – so who’s fault is that? To put words into your mouth you’re saying Britain has the divine right of kings, due to the innate superiority of Western Civilization, to shit all over the countries it perceives to be vulnerable to looting for economic purposes. We had to destroy the village in order to save it. You’re the worst kind of enemy of freedom.
          “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”
          Your sort think bombing the Middle East back to Stone Age and salting the earth with Depleted Uranium is a moral crusade. Monstrous evil, damn you and your black heart.

  16. Lost Leonardo

    So, we should genuflect to barberous cretins and make arguments on their behalf because our ancestors created a more militarily powerful, wealthier, kinder and generally-more-advanced-in-ever-important-respect civilisation than anti-women, anti-gay, anti-anyone-not-like-themselves Medieval f*ck wits who want to go back to living in caves and ignore all science and commerce?

    Try, no.

    Guarding against the puritanical police state at home is hard enough without accepting that the Jihadis “have a point” when they decry our “moral degeneracy”.

  17. Paul Marks

    Quite so Lost Leonardo.

    And I speak as someone with a rather conservative cast of mind who finds a lot of modern behaviour disturbing (but that, of course, gives me no right to use force against consenting adults).

    There is moral degeneracy in the world – I will give two examples of it.

    The principle that to prove rape a woman needs male witnesses to testify on her behalf – that principle is clearly morally degenerate (a license to rape).


    The principle that if someone leaves a particular religion (comes to the conclusion that the religion is false and says so) they should be executed.

    Both of these principles are clearly morally degenerate.

    Both mainstream Judaism and Christianity have supported morally degenerate principles in the past.

    For example, mainstream Judaism once supported the stoning to death of women for adultery (the writers of the Talmud moved against such doctrines – much to the disgust of early Muslims who shouted “raise your hand” when Talmudic Jews placed their hand over certain passages in the Bible to prevent themselves accidently reading them aloud when reciting – this is why Islam has been called a “revolt against the Talmud” a revolt in favour of taking such things as the death penalty for adultery literally and carrying out such penalties).

    Mainstream Christianity has burned very large numbers of people to death for heresy. Augustine developing a theology of using force in religion (force had been used by Christians before his time – but the invention of theological justifications for it is still important) – although I do not believe how far his theology would be used (what extremes it would be stretched to).

    Both religions have moved away from such doctrines – and it is to be hoped that Islam also does.

    However, this depends on a fundamental reconsideration of the position of Mohammed.

    Muslims have never considered Mohammed God (Mohammed was a man – “period” as the Americans say).

    However. his words have been considered (are NOW considered) the word of God (brought, without change, by Mohammed to the world).

    Until it is accepted that Mohammed may have MISUNDERSTOOD the teachings of God (as Augustine did, and as Joshua did – Joshua being a man who deliberately slaughtered the population of entire towns, down to the babies, because he thought that is what God wanted) then progress is not really possible.

    If Mohammed was a man (and it is accepted that he was a man) then he was flawed (as we all are) – flawed enough to MISUNDERSTAND.

    “But if God exists and is good, why does He not speak plainly to His prophets?”

    I have no good answer to that question. And it is a question I often ask myself.

  18. Julie near Chicago

    If I may say so, it is presently more-or-less accepted that God left our wills free. But that would be meaningless if our bodily systems (brains, senses of whatever kind, and so forth: input-output devices) and our very minds were pre-loaded with correct information. Therefore we must not assume that what we thought we heard (or otherwise sensed) IS what we heard; no more may we assume that what we wrote is error-free.

    I myself am a primary example of one who is prone to both errors.

    Therefore, we cannot take it for granted that we heard God right, or wrote down correctly what we heard; nor that we have interpreted correctly the words we read; nor that we have reasoned correctly from our interpretation.

    Which is why we have Reason: to help us to figure things out in the absence of Absolute and Unquestionable Knowledge, and to correct our errors.

    If we had Absolute and Unquestionable Knowledge (for which I personally believe we yearn) we would not need Reason. If we had Absolute and Perfectly Informed and Effective Will, there could be no such thing as Free Will, and no need — no justification — for it.

    A will which is Free (in the conventional sense) is free to will wrong acts, whether the “wrongness” lies in a practical misjudgment — “I heard that putting soy sauce on carpet stains will remove them” — or in transgression of the (or one’s own) human ideal.

    Here endeth today’s sermon. Go, and sin lots more, but only lightly and non-harmfully. And have a good time, if you can.

  19. Paul Marks

    Well yes Julie.

    If (for example) God had said to Joshua….

    “Do not kill those people” – it would not have been much of a test for Joshua(he would have done the right thing – but only out of fear). And leaving him in ignorance of God’s wishes also allows him to suppose that God is telling him to kill the innocent..

    But the heaps of dead children leave me in doubt.

  20. Julie near Chicago

    Paul, believe me, I understand. Indeed, as you well know, that’s the reason quite a few atheists give for their disbelief in God.

    I am not really informed on the story, having forgotten whatever details I once knew. But lacking context for the whole thing, there are two possibilities that occur to me.

    The first is that God wished the children to live (as He presumably wishes all men to live), but His plan for humans was that they have Free Will, that is, Will under the control of their own free souls rather than that of God; couple that with the equally important fact of human fallibility, and massacres will happen, because to prevent them He would have to abolish Free Will.

    The other possibility that occurs to me has no basis other than my imagination. But what if Joshua did NOT order the massacre? Remember, the “walls came tumbling down” for no good reason, according to some exegeses at least. What if, for instance, there had been an earthquake that breached the walls; a pause, during which the battle occurred; and then another earthquake severe enough to kill a great many people? It would seem that in ancient times there were many geophysical events that were “miraculous” because they were completely beyond human understanding at the time, and were reported as literal Acts of God, or of Wizards, or (I assume) of great Warriors by the contemporary or somewhat later sages.

    All those legends of the Deluge, for instance….

    Anyway, now I have two Bibles on actual paper–the original Revised Standard Version, AND the Jerusalem Bible that you put me onto. I will try to cure my Joshuan deficiency. But I have so many d.’s to cure….

    • I admit to skipping thru the thread, but just want to add that attempting to supply non-supernatural explanations for supernatural events (earthquakes etc) is not really much use. From archaeology and comparative history we know that Joshua’s blitzkrieg never happened and the walls of Jericho never fell either by natural or supernatural means. Basically everything in the Bible up to the Omride dynasty is just mythology.

      One interesting thing is that it appears that when human tribes coalesce from diverse origins, they write themselves a history in mythology that tells of a common origin. THis seems to be because humans like to be in kinship groups, so want a common ancestry, even if they have none. This is for instance true of the “German” tribes who coalesced into federations beyond the Roman border; they had no actual common ancestry (other than a very distant one shared by all humans) but invented tribal identities for themselves as Alans, Franks, Goths etc.

      Likewise the picture we have of the ancient Jews is that they coalesced in situ after the collapse of the Egyptian-controlled city states (like, indeed Jericho) and eventually in that coming together developed a common ancestry mythology as Jews. Being already there in the region, they never arrived and the story of how they arrived is just a set of folk tales.

  21. Julie near Chicago

    Maybe so, Ian, but even if so, to Christians it’s no help. It does not speak to the fundamental issue. For suppose Jericho never happened in historical fact. Then why did God give the story to the prophets or other sages? A puzzlement.

    But suppose it was for the same reason that Jesus so often spoke in parables: To provide an analogy that would illustrate an important point, and do so in an interesting and compelling (and sometimes very cryptic) way.

    Why, then, would God put together a story in which the protagonist, Joshua, a successful warrior, order a massacre after the defeat of the city?

    Remember, too, the story of Abraham and Isaac. The exegeters (is that a word?) seem finally to have decided that God was trying to show Abraham that He did not WANT blind obedience, obedience against the natural human instincts to protect children, family, loved ones; obedience against any sense of mercy or justice, and against all common sense. God wanted Abraham to know Him better than that, that He would never want, let alone demand, such a thing.

    In fact, the explanation we got sometime during my teenage years was that God was trying to show Abraham that He had no use for sacrifices, at least not human sacrifice, and that the silly humans should stop doing it STAT!

  22. Julie-

    The problem is, that such exegesis is a necessary part of any religion because it has to provide some religiously consistent explanation for odd stories and factoids. The explanation for the Abraham and Isaac story for instance is in my view really very weak. If God did act that way, all He was really affirming was that Abraham should do exactly as he was told and if next week He said, “I’ve changed my mind, barbecue Isaac” then Abraham would have to do that anyway.

    But from a secular perspective, we simply don’t need these explanations. They are cobbled together folk tales which are not even internally consistent; the Bible actually edits together two incompatible tales of the Jews’ arrival in their promised land- one is Joshua’s blitzkrieg, the other is a more diffusionist arrival without the grand military campaign. (In the same way that Genesis has two, arguably three, creation traditions embedded in it).

    I guess my stance on this as everything is that I’m only interested in reality- even when that gives me answers I don’t emotionally like very much (like, the nonexistence of natural rights). So, I feel of course that Christians have every right to believe what they do, but I cannot help with the major logical problems in that belief system.

    Libertarians, it seems to me, are the champions of “enlightenment values”; rationality, logic, science, evidence etc. The reality though is that humans naturally use other thought modes in understanding the world- faith, common sense, jumping to conclusions. That’s fine as it goes, so long as they do not impose their views on me. If an issue matters though, I will do my best to stick in the rationalist paradigm for myself, and try to persuade others to do so. Because for me, that’s all there is. Which sounds very pompous. In reality, I am no doubt as prone to irrationality as the next person, but I think there is a duty to at least try not to be.

    So in discussing Biblical history, for me the only approach that matters is whether it’s true or not. What people want to believe about it isn’t my problem, in my opinion.

    If that ramble makes any sense.

  23. Paul-

    For example, mainstream Judaism once supported the stoning to death of women for adultery

    IMO this comes back to stuff I’ve written previously about the “Levantine” value system. And this is why I don’t agree that there is a universal “correct” moral code. Morals develop as pragmatic solutions to local situations- and then sadly often cling on long after their utility is passed.

    In that area, many tribes developed as pastoralists, including the Israelites (shepherd God and all that). Pastoralist society is predicated on the extended, often polygamous family, the males of which protect the herds (for instance, the Bible story of Abraham and Lott’s falling out is one of clashing herdsmen and flocks). This means intense kinship bonds and duties; westerners often mistake this as laudable “family values” but I think this is unwise. It produces an intense tribal collectivism, and a requirement for very intense monitoring of kin relationships by clan leaders. And this means controlling sexual liasons- because women are the egg in the cake that bind the men together, and thus a woman with the wrong man is binding somebody you don’t want into the tribal cake, and a woman committing adultery is causing enormous family/clan problems. Which results in very harsh punishments against both females and males who break the clan bond system.

    (It is interesting at this point to note that while we in the West focus on violence against women, it is also applied to men. We bemoan that a woman was stoned to death in a foreign land and barely mention that her boyfriend was beheaded at the same time).

    So should we blame the ancient Jews, or indeed Arabs, for acting this way? No. We must be moral relativists. That was their system and, at the time, it was a functional system. Without it, they may not have survived. What we must then recognise is that it is a system which is woefully unsuited to higher civilisation and modernity. Jews have moved on. Muslims have not, or have moved on less, anyway. But to say it was “always evil” is useless. Because at one time, under one set of circumstances, it wasn’t. It was at least functional, and probably essential.

    It is my argument also that Western Europe- with different environmental conditions- developed a quite different system of “atomised” nuclear families which fission at marriage rather than bonding into endogamous clans. This was functional for our ancestors and, it turns out, was the most suited to modernity. I would also argue (like, which may surprise you, many conservatives) that it still is the most functional system at the moment; however modern developments like contraception enable much more flexibility and “liberalism”- the problem is that we have not developed a coherent moral system which incorporates that flexibility, and perhaps libertarians of a more libertine persuasion (like, er, me) need to put more effort in that area.

    But anyway, the atomic family model has always enabled more female sexual and general freedom and that is why western attitudes are so different to levantine ones. But whatever, we cannot blame bedouin 2000 years ago for a moral system which was, at the time, probably effectively a matter of survival.

  24. Paul Marks

    It is very difficult Julie – I agree. The moral horror is just too much – even for a rather jaded person like me.

    Also it appears that I have gone onto another subject – away from the lies of the terrorists (lies repeated as “obviously true” by Sean Gabb).

    Still Ian has raised an interesting point.

    But were not the Jews just as “Levantine” when they developed the Talmud – both original versions were developed in the Middle East (one in the northern part of the Holy Land – the only part Jews were allowed into by the Romans at the time, and the other in part of the Persian Empire).

    If moral reasoning is IMPOSSIBLE – if morality is just “relative” (with good and evil being just “boo and cheer words” as A.J. A. put it), the how was the Talmud developed at all? What do Jewish students of the law (and English students of the Common Law) do all day? If there is no such thing as “natural justice” then they are all wasting their time arguing about it.

    And. of course in societal terms those who believe that morality is just preferences (relative) lose automatically to those who do not – in the end.

    In the words of one of the Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy books puts it “They care we don’t, they win” (although Ford Prefect was wrong about that – but only because Arthur Dent did actually care).

    The enemy do not believe in moral reasoning either – they rejected it a thousand years ago (indeed even at the start Islam was sometimes described as a “revolt against the Talmud” – hence “raise your hand” read out and carry the death stuff in the Torah, the Books of Law in the Bible). in the “closing” of Islam to the idea that REASON could find what good and evil.

    But they do not think morality is “relative” – on the contrary they believe it objective (real) BUT not found by reason, just read out of books (the Koran and the various Hadiths) . There are five schools of Islamic Sunni Law (I believe each type of Shia has only one school of thought in Islamic law – but I am not sure about that, as different clergy in the Shia world do sometimes give different rulings – and they can sometimes be more flexible than Sunni rulings), but what a Sunni religious scholar is doing is NOT what a Jewish scholar (or an English student of the Common Law does).

    The practice of getting natural justice (natural reason) and trying to see how what is written on the page (and in previous judgements) can be reconciled with what is naturally right and wrong, is not what an Islamic scholar does.

    And it is NOT because Islamic scholars are dumb (they are actually often highly intelligent) or because they lack technical education (many Muslims know vastly more about practical technical skills than I do – I can not even repair a rifle). It is because that section of Islamic thought that thought there were objective moral standards that even the Koran should be interpreted in the light of was REJECTED in the “closing” more than a thousand years ago.

    These people are not moral relativists – but they are not believers in moral reasoning either.

    These (often highly intelligent and technically very well educated people) believe they have a book (actually more than one if one includes the sayings of Mohammed the hadiths) that tells them (AND EVERYONE ELSE) what is right and wrong.

    They might (and do) argue over exactly what the words mean – but judging the words by an external objective moral standard (by reasoning and debate) NO – that was REJECTED a thousand years ago.

    What is left (at least in mainstream Sunni Islam) is rather like a form of ultra Calvinism – or (to be more accurate) Calvinism is rather like Islam (because Islam came before Calvinism). Some Catholics in the past have copied elements of Islam also – for example Pope Innocent III (via the Conference) insisted that Jews be forced to wear special clothing (and so on) a direct imitation of Islamic practice – although Innocent III (being the sort of man he was) did not admit this.

    Still back to the Calvinists.

    Some American “Puritans” were like this – and some were not.

    And when this “code” is lost such people (or their children) have nothing to fall back on.

    When such people reject the code (which is the only form of morality they believe exists) then they are left with nothing, with a VOID (one can call it “moral relativism” if one likes – but that is just a nice way of saying the same thing). No moral reasoning (as with the Aristotelians) and no introspection (as with the “Common Sense” thinkers – really Ralph Cudworth to Harold Prichard and Sir William David Ross although they are not normally included) just the void.

    And even a code based on the WILL of God (not the reason of God reflected in the universe) beats nothing – beats a void.

    If the West gives up the moral (the philosophical) struggle then we lose automatically – without losing on any battle fields.

    This is why the American “Pragmatists” and the European (and American) Logical Positivists (and their forerunners going back to Thomas Hobbes and so on) are writing a societal suicide note.

    By the way this is why Italian Fascism was so weak.

    Mussolini (in his writings) openly admitted that the core doctrines of Fascism were myths – how William James and Sorel, how “modern”, how “with it”.

    Accept men do not fight to the death for myths – not when they KNOW they are myths.

    For Mussolini morality and political philosophy were either a matter of WILL (not reason) or they were mythical (the idea that there could be moral reasoning he rejected). And (in the end) he decided they were first mythical – and then had to have will shoved into them.

    A political (and societal) suicide note.

    Islam eats such weakness for breakfast.

  25. Concerned Briton

    This is a very clear outlook on aspects of the present situation – and unlike those in this country who would seek to derail this topic and/or attempt to twist it inside out, I fully support the message behind this article and the ‘proposition’ elements contained within it.

    Well done Sean, as I particularly like it when nails are hit firmly and squarely on the head. This is one of those moments, or articles.

    Furthermore, I think the establishment have unleashed a beast upon this country and that they are fools if they think they can tame it and teach it to roll over and play nicely.

    I often think I am going insane in this society, where nobody ever seems to ask the right questions, discuss the right aspects, or give any consideration as to how things will develop in the future. Politicians and other mouthpieces are the prime suspects for this, but wider society just seems to slumber on and pretend it is not happening.

    Take, for example, seeing as we are discussing Muslims, the hundreds of small scale Sharia courts which are believed to be operating all over the country. There have been investigations, there have been TV documentaries on them, so they do exist and are happening.

    Another example, though not strictly religious (although it comes with the baggage of such communities that have arrived here) – is the issue of FGM, or Female Genital Mutilation.

    What makes the government, the state, liberals in general, think they can control these two things, for example?

    How do they plan on monitoring the private agreements between a community (and the private-parts of citizens) to check they comply with “British Values” – now that there are approximately 6 Million Muslims in Britain, and a heavy distortion of demographic change coming in the decades ahead?

    We already have election fraud, blatant corruption, and a myriad of other things that accompany the third-worldisation of this nation…..and it is already destabilising the country and requiring a form of tyranny and control to keep things in relative order and relative peace.

    What they have unleashed is now generating a path of its own, irrespective of what these clowns in charge mumble about “British Values” – which are not even “British Values” at all, but liberal-lefty values.

    They cannot be policed, they cannot be enforced, and the state will, at some point, have to capitulate and admit it cannot get on top of it all. In the meantime, the country will be changing rapidly into something entirely different to what we have known for hundreds, if not thousands of years.

    Demographics is destiny, and the state has been busy importing a new one. One shouldn’t be surprised to have a different country at the end of it.

    What you say about the degeneracy is spot on. Liberalism of this pernicious sort has rotted this country like a bad case of tooth decay. It has ruined us, in my opinion.

    Why are liberals so arrogant that they expect the Muslims to adopt all the values that have led to our collapse? What makes them even think they are interested in adapting at all?!

    But they are removed from reality. Take for example a quote this week by David Cameron, on how “MP’s are Too White”:

    ….”“The answer to how we make our country strong in the future is that we welcome talent from whenever it comes and we celebrate the fact that we are stronger together as a United Kingdom, as a multi-cultural nation than we could ever be if we looked back to the past.”…….”

    Nonsense on stilts, on all counts. It is astonishing.

    The state cannot do anything else than pump out this tripe, but what is more frightening is that they really do believe these kinds of statements and that ordinary citizens are not calling it out as the nonsense it is.

    The point is, that the only things that’s going to be stronger in the future is the reach of the state – in order to keep a lid on all this stuff going on – as Britain slides slowly into third world status and all the hundreds of ills that blight them.

  26. All I know is, as a retired (laughingly so) Lancashire Chimpanzee type writer, is that I don’t “altogether hold with” wierdy scumbags who brandish assault-rifles above their heads (a very bad plan, that, and dangerous to onlookers) pretending to be “scholars” spouting stuff about how other Lancashire chimpanzee type-writers (or non-writers, or metacombinations of these from elsewhere) should eat, dress, think or behave.

    If Christians from Nebraska behaved identically to this sort of scumbag (or even if it was the Methodists from up Scarisbrick New Road), then I’d look rather more coldly that some people would like onto the tops of the heads of those blokes also.

  27. Paul Marks

    Mr Pate the “reaction” (as you put it) was NOT just against King Idris it was against every even vaguely civilised government in the Middle East.

    Savages and barbarians are present in every country (everywhere) – one should oppose them, not make excuses for them. If King Idris has been supported by Britain the opposition to him would have been just the same – after all there were plots to overthrow the government of Morocco and Oman and replace them with vastly worse regimes.

    Blaming Britain (or the West) in general for the deeds of our enemies (as Sean Gabb did) is a despicable lie. The “despotic regimes” were those of our enemies.

    The “obvious truth” (i.e. LIE) that the “despotically brutal regimes” were imposed by us, is one of the ways the Islamic terrorists try and justify their actions, so it is no minor matter.

    I do not care about some of Sean’s “naughtiness” – but his support of this Islamic terrorist lie against Britain (indeed against the West in general) was crossing the lie. As was his support of their other lies.

  28. Paul Marks

    I repeat the idea that the opposition to the King of Libya was really because he came to power with British support is absurd.

    EVERY even vaguely civilised government in the Middle East faced endless plots (from savages and barbarians – of both the socialist type and the Islamist type) to overthrow them.

  29. Concerned Briton

    An alternative first paragraph?…….

    “According to The Daily Mouthpiece, “One of the most serious challenges facing English people is that of tackling liberal extremism.” Apparently, some of the liberals here are attempting “to destroy communities off whilst hermetically sealing themselves off from the rest of society that they inevitably muck up with their logic-defying insanity.” They have taken over state schools and are imposing their own ideas of curriculum and behaviour. White working class children are made to sit and fester at the back of the class. Anything other than liberalism is not taught. Christmas and Easter are certainly not celebrated…..”

    Without these extremists, the others would not be here and presenting this ‘danger’ in the first place.

    We would be quite happy just mowing our lawns, getting on with life, instead of dealing with all these imported and self manufactured problems and thus having to worry about what is coming down the tracks and the kinds of despotic regimes that may ensue to keep a lid on things.

    Hopefully it will all never materialise, I don’t know how, but it should never have been risked in the first place.

    Once again, I think it is the arrogance of “liberals”, the kind of middle class white useful idiots who just love to talk down to everybody else as being “backwards”, “uneducated” or “laughably lunatic” for objecting to their objectives and constructions.

    Some of them seem to finally be waking up to the idea that not every one of their pet-communities are committed to their rules and agendas. One day they may even realise that we are in a low level turf war and battle ground for ideological dominance with these communities.

    First to go under the wheels will probably be happy-clappy liberal constructs which apparently now define what being British means……(irrespective of them being “universal” liberal standpoints and not definitive or exclusive at all).

    I may not like Islamisation of Britain, but at least they seem to stand up for their own interests and communities.

    I thought a lot of the reporting over the Trojan Horse schools was far-fetched and basically a long whine that Muslims are not being good little liberals on issues like sex education and other such issues like separating boys and girls in the classroom.

    This is the kind of “extremism” and “anti-British” they were often talking about…..despite our own society once also being hostile to the promotion of homosexuality, conservative on sex-education issues and having separate teaching of boys and girls, even separate playgrounds with the distinction carved in stone.

    Deviation from the liberal programme cannot be accepted by those who see themselves a morally and intellectually superior to all others.