Tuesday, February 02, 2016

As most of Elder’s readers will be aware, a week or so ago the Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism (NECSS) rescinded its invitation to Professor Richard Dawkins, the British evolutionary biologist and high-profile atheist, to address it this year.  His offence in its eyes was “his approving retweeting of a highly offensive video”.  The video in question is this one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecJUqhm2g08, entitled “Feminists Love Islamists”.  Apparently, when Professor Dawkins posted it, he was unaware (as I was, too, when, quite coincidentally, I linked to it on my blog) that the feminist caricature depicted in the animation is based on an actual American activist who claims to have suffered harassment over the depiction.  When he was apprised of that fact, Professor Dawkins did the gentlemanly thing and took it down.

However, the NECSS were determined to exact condign punishment, advising in a purse-lipped little statement (http://necss.org/2016/01/27/a-statement-concerning-richard-dawkins/):

“We believe strongly in freedom of speech and freedom to express unpopular, and even offensive, views. However, unnecessarily divisive, counterproductive, and even hateful speech runs contrary to our mission and the environment we wish to foster at NECSS. The sentiments expressed in the video do not represent the values of NECSS or its sponsoring organizations.”

When one Twitter user demanded to know what precisely is wrong with the video he got fobbed off (http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/sceptics-drop-atheist-richard-dawkins-retweeting-video-mocking-feminists-islamists-1540729):

‘I have specifically challenged the people in NECSS to explain exactly what their issue is with the video ("which line exactly and what's your issue with it?"). They responded that it was inappropriate because the woman had received abuse, so Dawkins was promoting her further

I say “fobbed off” because the NECSS statement quoted does not appear to be referring to the perceived insult to the women’s movement activist on whom the video is based (and now that I know who she is and what she looks like I see that it’s obviously meant to be her: she’s much prettier, by the way, if she’ll forgive me for saying so).  The statement, despite its avowed espousal of freedom of speech, is condemning the sentiments expressed in the video as “divisive, counterproductive … hate speech” and distancing itself and its “sponsoring organizations” from those views.

I don’t know what, if anything, the activist depicted in the video has had to say regarding Islam and the Quran, but I do know that there’s a video in the public domain that shows she doesn’t mince words when expressing her robust contempt for Christianity and the Bible.  However, it appears that the NECSS, for all its adherence to scepticism and what I suppose I may call “the rational,” is too afraid of offending Islam to be seen to support scepticism and – er – rational criticism of it, or to tolerate commentary on the irony of Western “feminist” fondness for an ideology that believes women are inferior to men and must be appropriately subordinate to men.

Such hypocrisy, such Orwellian doublespeak, such claptrap, as appears in the NECSS’s statement are par for the course among leftists, of course.  For instance, this is how that politically correct Israel-bashing British newspaper The Independent (home to such delightful types as Robert Fisk) reported matters (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/richard-dawkins-vdeo-twitter-necss-event-feminism-a6841161.html):

‘The video … was shared by Dawkins on [January 27], alongside the explainer: “Obviously doesn’t apply to vast majority of feminists, among whom I count myself. But the minority are pernicious.”. Dawkins later deleted the tweet but the NECSS shared a screengrab of it. The distasteful video, which compares Islamists to feminists and shows two cartoon characters singing about having things in common, was deleted by Dawkins after he apparently learnt the ‘feminist’ character in the song was based on a real person who was subsequently “threatened with violence”. Additionally, he later attempted to defend his post by telling a Twitter user the video was a "joke song satirising the alliance between radical Islamism and radical feminism".’
Now, I’m not an atheist and I’m no fan of Professor Dawkins’ atheistic stance, but his views regarding the strange love that many of today’s “feminists” have towards Islamism are hard for anyone except a perverse blinkered leftist/”pernicious feminists” to fault.  On Twitter Dawkins has fought his corner convincingly, and includes this very pertinent tweet (video of Islamists disrupting a speech by an Iranian-born British feminist in the linked article):

Dear @NECSS this is the kind of thing being satirised by the "Feminists Love Islamists" vid for which you banned me 
As for that strange love that “pernicious feminists” the Western world over have for the Muslim abusers of their sex, here’s the correct response, hurled by the genuine feminist Ann-Marie Waters of the UK-based Mothers against Sharia at a bunch of foolish Danish women in Copenhagen who were there to heckle her speech that warned of the burgeoning encroachments of Islam on the culture and polity of Europe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YTVpyCOmcKY   

And the incredible excuses some Western women make for the perpetrators of the “Rape Jihad” seen on New Year’s Eve in Cologne and elsewhere?  Consider this obscenity, made by Gaby Hinsliff in the Guardian (http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jan/08/cologne-attacks-hard-questions-new-years-eve):

Young German women thankfully enjoy historically unprecedented economic and sexual freedom, with their expensive smartphones and their right to celebrate New Year’s Eve however they want. The same isn’t always true of young male migrants exchanging life under repressive regimes, where they may at least have enjoyed superiority over women, for scraping by at the bottom of Europe’s social and economic food chain. It is not madness to ask if this has anything to do with attacks that render confident, seemingly lucky young women humiliated and powerless. But even if it does, the answer wouldn’t be to halt immigration …’
 And compare it with this excuse for domestic violence, made very recently by a former Australian Labor politician, Mark Latham (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-01-22/mark-latham-under-fire-for-triple-m-podcast-domestic-violence/7107650):
"The patriarchy argument is that men beat up women in some cases because they hate women.  But I don't think it is about how men look at women, it is about how men look at themselves.  They have lost their self-esteem, their job, are welfare-dependent, on drugs or alcohol in their life.  They use domestic violence as a coping mechanism to get over all the other crap they have in their lives.  Demonising men and making them feel worse about themselves is not going to solve the problem."
No prizes for guessing that the distaff side of the Islam-loving (anti-Israel) Australian Greens/Left Alliance, as silent concerning the attacks by Muslim gangs on women in Europe as they are vociferous in condemning the “patriarchal attitudes” and “misogyny”of white culture, have been down on Latham like the proverbial ton of bricks.

But back to Europe.  Lawyer, writer and blogger Phillip Mark McGough has written as incisive a commentary on the situation there as I have ever read (http://quillette.com/2016/01/18/after-cologne-feminism-is-dead/).  Inter alia, he observes:
‘[O]ne of the few tragi-comic chapters in the horror story of Nazism concerns a strange little organization called the Association of German National Jews. They were a pro-National Socialist Jewish group whose membership not only welcomed Hitler’s accession but actively promoted the self-eradication of Jewish identity and its absorption into the new, heroic, master-culture represented by the Nazis (it was said of them, tongue only partly in cheek, that their motto was “down with us”). In 1935, predictably and forcibly, the group was disbanded. Whereas Stalin had his useful idiots, for Hitler there could be no useful Jews. 
With the above in mind, Marx needs revision. History repeats itself: First as farce, then as tragedy. No longer the unofficial motto of a handful of obscure pre-war self-hating Jews, Down With Us has latterly been adopted (or so it seems) as an official article of policy by the German government itself. Here is a country whose improvident approach to Near Eastern immigration these past few months is quite literally threatening its future as a liberal, progressive, democratically-viable European nation-state. It wouldn’t take an especially imaginative political cartoonist to show Frau Merkel as Frankenstein-throwing levers and blowing fuses as she botches an attempt to graft a million (and counting) Muslim refugees onto the body politic of an increasingly mutilated society. In politics as in cheap Gothic literature, such experiments breed monsters. 
Some of us are old enough to remember when refugees consisted almost entirely (and by definition) of the most vulnerable members of any given country in crisis: Women, children, the elderly, and so forth. Today, on the other hand, most of the Muslims arriving in Europe from the Near East seem to be young men of fighting age: Young men whose views regarding Jews, gays, and of course women are completely at odds with Europe’s liberal tradition as it’s evolved these past few centuries; a liberal tradition which Germany, for obvious reasons, has sought to reify in its approach to domestic and international affairs ever since the end of the war. But thanks in no small measure to mass Muslim immigration, antisemitism in its most predatory incarnation is once again the norm on German streets, while misogyny is more or less accepted, even expected. It is to choke on the irony of it all. In the name of a long-cherished tradition of tolerance, Germany is becoming savagely intolerant: Totally unsafe for Jews who dare to display their Judaism in public, and increasingly unsafe for women who dare even to go out in public at all after nightfall (or use a swimming pool; or attend a carnival; or do pretty much anything short of redacting their identity behind a hijab and never leaving the house again)….
We now know that law-enforcement authorities throughout Europe have been conniving for some time in similarly clumsy attempts to neutralize news of the scale of the violence (particularly sexual violence against women) at large within certain sections of newly-arrived migrant communities. Across Europe, citizens are being asked by their own governments to accept that complicity in a conspiracy of silence is the highest form of tolerance. Fortunately, most people aren’t buying into it. Sadly, however, some people are: And, oddly enough, not a few of them are women….’

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