Against Banning Page 3 Girls

Yesterday I spoke against a motion to ban Page 3 girls at a London debating society. Here, roughly, is what I said.

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I would like to oppose this motion on three grounds.

Firstly, I believe there is rank hypocrisy in this campaign against Page 3. I also believe its advocates victimize and infantlize women. Finally, but by no means the least important, such a proposal has ominous implications for personal freedom and autonomy.

Last year at the LSE, the Sun was banned from being sold on campus. When members of the Hayek Society there protested by selling the Sun from a stall, it ended up being vandalized.

It was interesting to hear the words of one of the prohibitionists. Page 3, she said, promotes “unrealistic, unattainable expectations” contributing to “negative body image” and even eating disorders.

Folks, I have to ask: How come we never see dildos that are 5 or 6 inches long?

Similarly, I don’t see many portly men in Calvin Klein advertisements.

Throughout history, women have desired men with the biggest muscles and the biggest wallets. Men have desired women with large breasts. The feminists waging war on Page 3 are waging a war on human nature; but who are they to say what we should find attractive?

Last year the women’s section of Al Guardian featured an article telling women how to vandalize the racks from which such content is sold. But women’s magazines are full of scantily clad or even nude women. Clearly, women enjoy looking at such such women, too. But there are no calls to ban or vandalize these magazines.

The most ubiquitous piece of pornography in my lifetime happens to be a book called 50 Shades of Grey. The leading male character is a wealthy pretty boy who has, I believe, a mansion and a helicopter. Unrealistic, unattainable expectations! Yet it is perfectly acceptable to carry this book around and read it on a train. Men are more stimulated by the image and male pornography reflects this, but 50 Shades is pornography by the dictionary definition of the word: material designed to sexually excite. Should it be banned from the shelves?

This campaign springs from a trend in modern feminism, one that does not seek to empower women as much as it seeks to infantilize them and protect their virtue from brutish men. You know, the kind that read the Sun.

Organisations like Ireland’s National Women’s Council, with which I have had run-ins in the past, will loudly call on the government to “protect women and children in the next budget”. Are women, then, automatically as vulnerable as children, just by being women? Is this empowerment?

The women of Al Guardian and student’s unions that vandalize stalls selling the Sun are not all that different from the Taliban or groups of lay-missionaries.

Though they will defend the right of a woman to have eye-catching cleavage, woe betide the man who comments on it.

Old notions of the virtue of female chastity have lost their force. Well, not quite: the parent who recommends their daughter sleep with as many men as possible provided they use contraception has yet to be born.

Its interesting to see how the Progressive alliance with the Moral Majority on issues like Page 3 has ended up setting back the progress of women significantly.

I believe the scare-mongering on matters of sex directed at girls from a young age can be taken to abusive levels. I am studying psychotherapy. Not a few cases of frigidity I have come across can be traced to the tales of wicked men and the need to resist them imparted to girls from their parents. Its probably one of the reasons 43% of women are not enjoying sex to the fullest.

Finally, I want to talk about freedom.

I concede that Page 3 is distasteful. But one of my all-time favorite books, the first serious novel I ever read as a kid, happens to be A Clockwork Orange. Its theme is man’s right to do evil. It asks us whether it is moral to turn a violent young man into a harmless automaton.

In the book, only the prison chaplain, a cleric, openly disagrees with the brainwashing technique. I believe by doing this Burgess was saying that such opposition is difficult to justify on entirely rational or utilitarian grounds. Yet we naturally prefer to be free and flawed human beings than a thing incapable of choice.

Thankfully, the overwhelming majority of undesirable and immoral behaviors are not crimes.

However, a new form of authoritarianism has risen; one that is obsessed with nudging us towards good behavior and ends up cultivating dependence on the state. It is an approach famously laid out by the academics Rich Thaler and Cass Sunstein, who advocate altering our “choice architecture”, or the framework in which we are able to make decisions.

If your political philosophy seeks to micromanage individual behavior, I want no part of it and I urge you to reconsider.

And I urge all of you here, if you stand against hypocrisy and infantilization and favor autonomy, to oppose this motion.

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The audience was to my surprise largely in favor of the motion from the poll taken before the debate. My side did not win, but we did manage to increase our share of the vote by the final tally. Ah, small victories.

The Allsop Auction: No Rule of Law In Ireland

Yesterday, Dublin bore witness to an act of opportunistic thuggery and mob rule. A lawful auction was disrupted, and a company was forced to close its premises on Pembroke Street. No arrests were made; Gardai were happy to look on and cede authority to a group of mouth-breathing bandits.

Mouth-breathers may be too generous a description. Here’s Tom D’Arcy of Direct Democracy Ireland. The factual errors combined with the confidence of his delivery make for 20 seconds of comedy greatness:

In fairness, he may be confusing Countess Markievicz with his contemporary fallen rebel, Janice Connolly. An easy mistake.

Its fun to laugh at jackasses telling auctioneers to ‘go back home to England’, or calling them Black and Tans, or belting out the national anthem. Yet there may be a more sinister element here. The event in question was an auction of repossessed investment properties, including holiday homes. Now, the Irish don’t like repossessions. They probably bring back bad memories from the 19th century (hence, the bizarre evocation of nationalism by the protesters). This aversion to seeing anybody lose their property was stretched to absurdity last year, when Ireland’s Occupy movement came to protest the eviction of a millionaire couple in the exclusive neighborhood of Killiney, even though this couple owned dozens of other properties in Ireland and no less than 13 apartments in London. They also happened to owe over €2 million to a recently nationalized bank, a.k.a. the taxpayer, but the irony was lost on the Occupy crowd.

But who would be motivated to come out for an emotional protest where no families have lost their homes and no tenants have found themselves on the streets? Who was really behind this farce?

Among the protesters I spotted in the pictures in today’s newspapers is Jerry Beades. Beades is a property developer well connected to the Fianna Fáil party and former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern. He’s currently being pursued by Ulster Bank for €3.5m in unpaid loans. Members of the Dáil involved include Michael Healy-Rae and Mattie McGrath. Hardly paragons of integrity. McGrath is a cute hoor who cynically left his disgraced party to run as an independent in 2011, but still curries favor with them at every opportunity. Healy-Rae’s parliamentary office made €2,600 worth of phone calls to RTE to make sure he won a reality show.

It is being said that most of the protesters were dragged from another demonstration in front of the Anglo-Irish Bank HQ on the same day. Were people being cynically manipulated here?

I do hope the auction goes ahead. These things are necessary in order to bring Irish property values back to their normal market rate. I also hope the Gardai will have the good sense to make some arrests and uphold the rule of law if this happens again. In this time of economic hardship, I find it disturbing to see the Gardai persistently gawking at flagrant demonstrations of contempt for the law. It is ranging from comparatively minor incidents involving illegal turf-cutting to allowing paramilitary funerals and demonstrations go unhindered in Dublin’s northside. To borrow some terms from Yeats, describing the atmosphere of Europe after WWI, if the centre cannot hold, mere anarchy will be loosed upon the world. Ireland should endeavor not to be a new Weimar.

On Accepting Blame

150 years ago today, on July 3rd, 1863, the Battle of Gettysburg was lost for the Army of Northern Virginia.

The nine infantry brigades that advanced in Pickett’s Charge were repulsed and suffered 50% casualties. The day before, the Union line had held at Devil’s Den and Little Round Top. The enemy Army of the Potomac was secure in a clever fish-hook formation that allowed for easy reinforcement of weaker sections.

Pickett’s Charge was a bloody mess. It could have been avoided. It left a psychological blow from which Southern morale never quite recovered.

“It’s all my fault”: that’s what General Lee said as routed Confederates were falling back. The greatest American was willing to admit his mistakes and accept the blame. The affections of his countrymen have often shielded Lee from responsibility. Blame is often laid at the feet of J.E.B. Stuart, the cavalry general who was absent at the early stage of the battle, depriving the army of its ‘eyes and ears’. But Stuart was absent on the orders of Lee, cutting telegraph lines, capturing supplies, and giving the Yankees  hell elsewhere. My own hero, Robert E. Lee, knew who was at fault and never hid the fact.

Which brings me to yesterday’s abortion vote in the Dáil.

The bill that passed overwhelmingly in the Chamber will allow for termination of a pregnancy when doctors agree that a woman is at risk of suicide as a result of that pregnancy.

This suicide clause will inevitably cause in Ireland a repeat of the bloody history of the United Kingdom, where 98% of abortions are carried out as a result of mental trauma. This system is a great ruse between the doctor and patient, and everybody involved knows it. It has led to abortion becoming another form of contraception, a concept that the majority of people have always found distasteful. This year, Lord Steel admitted this was not at all envisaged when he introduced the 1967 bill.

Ireland had the chance to demonstrate a different path, one which would hold the life of the mother and the unborn child in equal regard, and one which would reach the best possible compromise in situations of conflict between the two. What we have now is the wholesale abandonment and derision of Christian principles in favor of secularist barbarism, mediocrity, and conformity; a new milieu in which there is no room for a small nation that refuses to sell its soul.

There are nowhere near enough TDs to stand firm and shout ‘stop!’. Similarly, after Gettysburg, it would have taken nothing short of a miracle to save Dixie.

And how did we get here? In 2002 the 25th Amendment would have amended the Irish Constitution in order to clarify the law on abortion. It would have specifically removed the threat of suicide as a grounds for abortion in the state; a bone of contention since the infamous X-Case of 1992. Pro-life parties made a terrible mistake in advancing the ‘No’ vote even as the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin was saying that informed Catholics were free in conscience to vote as they wished. The amendment was rejected by the electorate, 50.42% to 49.58%.

Nobody thought this would be the end of the matter of abortion. The pro-life movement had a chance to close the suicide loophole. Now the specter of abortion on mental health grounds hovers over us yet again. This foolish decision in 2002 seemed to put tactics ahead of strategy, and the immediate fight before the war.  The Confederates too could have avoided contact with the Union at Gettysburg. What started as a skirmish Lee urgently escalated with reinforcements because he felt he had a shot at destroying the Union Army there and then. There were alternatives. Lee could have interposed between the Federal left flank and Washington to take them on better ground and prevent the enemy from retreating to D.C. He could have retreated to the passes of South Mountain in eastern Pennsylvania and forced Meade to attack him there.

Perhaps moral or abstract principles have no place in a world of strategy, and this has been the pro-life movement’s mistake. Perhaps sentiment and certainty in 2002 trumped good reasoning. What I feel for sure is that what occurred in the Dáil yesterday is partly our fault.

The ESB and the Culture of Entitlement

I note that hundreds of ESB workers gathered today outside the ESB headquarters on Dublin’s Lower Fitzwilliam Street. They don’t want to pay a €78.4 million annual dividend they owe to the exchequer, because the ESB pension fund is in a €1.6 billion shortfall and this would be hard. The unwashed workers of the private sector can only dream of the day they can say this to their creditors .

Forgive me for not shedding a tear for some of the best paid workers in the country (average salary: €85,000 before pension contributions).  These are people who enjoy almost unparalleled job security in a semi-state company that operates in a tightly regulated market ensuring that they have no effective competition.

This is the organisation that demanded an old lady in Offaly, Teresa Treacy, be thrown in jail for refusing the ESB access to her own land where she tended a plot of native trees. Contrast this with the widely loathed outfit that is Shell. Shell in fact pleaded for the Rossport Five to be released from prison after they had violated a court injunction and interfered with  Shell’s pipeline in Mayo.

ESB workers, admitted Brendan Ogle, secretary of the ESB group of unions, are “spoiled”. Undoubtedly a man of the left, he added:

“The trade union movement collaborated in the creation of the wealth stroke debt and we made sure that the gap between that those who have and those who haven’t in society grew through the eighties, through the nineties, into the noughties to the day the IMF arrived on the door.

And the trade union movement and the Labour party collaborated in that for 25 years and none of us did anything about it.”

I disagree with the popular idea that the gap between rich and poor increased in Ireland during the boom years. But there are different kinds of equality and inequality. Public sector and semi-state unions created a protected caste of workers before the 1990s, and they still cushion their clientele from market forces today.

The power of Ireland’s unions was well symbolized in Dublin’s unattractive Liberty Hall, for a long time the country’s tallest building. For decades, unions  made sure that companies were run for the benefit of their workers, and not the customer. This led to absurdities like all banks being closed at lunchtime, the only time when most working people could actually go to the bank. Their power has diminished somewhat, but that sense of entitlement, that led the puzzlingly beatified union leader Jim Larkin to beat workers who refused to go along with his strikes in their own homes, is still with us.

America’s Immigration Policy as a Global Welfare Scheme

Here’s a very telling insight into how immigration policy is decided in America today. A group of 13 female Senators are criticizing the current immigration overhaul plan precisely because of its emphasis on a merit system. Their argument? Because many foreign women are less educated and less skilled than men, it would amount to discrimination against them.

Well, I suppose it is no more nonsensical than the New York Times recent suggestion that the illegitimate children of US servicemen and bar-girls abroad should be fast-tracked to US citizenship. Because one thing America has a crippling shortage of right now is illegitimate children.

This is only the natural conclusion to Ted Kennedy’s 1965 Amendments to the Immigration and Nationality Act, which placed considerations like family reunification and being extra nice to colored people ahead of America’s economic interests. It has prevented the country from maintaining a national character, as had been done previously by the National Origins Formula, to preference the nationalities of people already in the United States. That’s why 80-90 percent of immigrants are now from the Third World, whereas previously 97 percent of immigrants came from Europe.

America’s emphasis on family reunification has been grossly unfair. It squeezes out many talented young people from developed nations like Britain who would be a real credit to the country and would love to be there. As the interesting Stephen Steinlight has pointed out, a single immigrant can end up getting citizenship for most of a village in Mexico, or even half the population of an entire town in the West Bank.

Is America importing the best? No. Immigrants from Latin America and the Caribbean, places that supply the vast majority of newcomers, are less entrepreneurial than natives and immigrants from countries like Canada and Korea. Current Hispanic immigrants and their descendants are not advancing economically and entering the middle class, as did immigrants of old. Instead, America has been importing an underclass of people with an illegitimacy rate of 53%, who are crime-prone, and have test scores that are not reaching the level of whites even after two and three generations.

Yet nobody cares. When it comes to handing out visas, it is simply each according to her need.

See also:

Randmesty?

Preserving Freedom Can Mean Restricting Immigration

Are Women The Privileged Sex?

The Privileged Sex

In my days as an undergraduate, I submitted myself to medical experiments for money. It was a low point in a life dominated by low points, but there were no substantial risks. Being part of a treatment group, I occasionally stayed overnight with other members in accommodation close to a laboratory. One thing I observed in this group was that there were no females. There was not one in the group of about 20 people I stayed with. I never saw any around the facilities, apart from staff. When I put this to a researcher, I was informed that the use of women in clinical trials is discouraged, and has been for decades. The impetus for this was the Thalidomide scandal in the late 1950′s, when pregnant women in a clinical drug trial ended up giving birth to children with fin-like arms or legs. Non-approved drugs and treatments can harm males as well, but that doesn’t seem to matter as much.

Visiting Dublin’s woefully-named Mountjoy Prison as a law student, I could not help get taken aback by the radically different conditions male and female prisoners have to endure. The men of Mountjoy are confined to an actual prison.  Its a bad prison at that, one of the last in Europe where they still practice slopping out. The women, on the other hand, live in self-contained apartments superior to what many people live in at university.

Thus, women get the benefit of medicine once its safety has been verified using male guinea pigs. Much like how they benefit from the safety that requires the sacrifice of men and boys in combat. Much like how they benefit from welfare programs penned by mostly male legislators, or the easier justice of mostly male jurists. Examples of female privilege are abundant, now and throughout history. Why the notion that women have a tougher time of it than men has so thrived in face of these facts is quite the mystery.

Its a problem that’s recently been tackled by my one of my favorite historians, and my favorite military theorist, Israel’s Martin Van Creveld. Van Creveld’s The Privileged Sex has just been published in English, being previously only available in German. His is a thesis well worth reading.

Van Creveld contends that for every disadvantage women have endured, whether man-made or as a result of biology, they enjoy a privilege that that is equally or more important to their lives. These range from being spared the obligation to fight in wartime, to the hardest of labors in general. Too many female writers, inclined to see oppression in all places and times, ever mention these privileges (guilty males, even less so). Our perceptions of gender relations have also been skewed by popular stories concerning the alleged historical exploitation and oppression of women. Many of these are without foundation, and if seriously scrutinized turn out to be invented for political-ideological reasons. Feminists have, for instance, portrayed societies that permitted a man to have more than one wife as sexist, with a view of women as being like cattle. Yet in many places this arrangement was simply a way of looking after widows. It was the best possible way of looking out for their welfare at a time when unattached women would have had a difficult time even surviving. They claim women were persecuted in Nazi Germany, yet German women were more likely than men to vote for Hitler. Another example is the portrayal of witch-hunts as part of the general oppression of women. Yet how could these have been anti-woman, when in some countries just as many or more men were executed for witchcraft? In nearly all places men accused of witchcraft were more likely to be executed or face stiffer penalties than their female peers. Not to mention that it was overwhelmingly women accusing other women of being witches, and prosecutions for witchcraft often reached their height under female rulers like Catherina De Medici, Mary Queen of Scots, and ‘Good Queen Bess’ herself. Indeed, some authorities, like James VI of Scotland, had to abolish the general commission against witchcraft because it had become a mere vehicle to settle scores among mostly female rivals.

Similarly, we are told that women do not thrive in the fields of science and engineering because males have kept them out of these vocations. But not even Stalin was able to force females to study technical subjects. Today, officialdom is most satisfied that girls vastly outnumber boys in our medical schools. Yet very few have addressed the disastrous consequences of this. After their expensive training, in most places covered or heavily subsidized by the taxpayer, only a tiny percentage of female graduates remain full-time doctors. They largely avoid the most stressful work in hospitals. A huge proportion quickly leave the profession entirely. In Ireland, only 10% of female GPs pursue full-time practice in the long-term. Some, like the journalist Kevin Myers, have estimated the figure at even less than that, remarking that this is “not a health system; it is a first day on the Somme”. Thus, we in the developed world have to make up the difference by importing doctors from poor countries that need them most.

Discourse on domestic violence is similarly dominated by a presumption that men are overwhelmingly the perpetrators. For a long time, studies have been casting doubt on this perception. Erin Pizzey, the founder of the UK charity today known as Refuge, has been subjected to death threats and boycotts because of her claims that most domestic violence is reciprocal, and that women are equally as capable of violence as men. Reciprocal violence is indeed the most common pattern, and a study of 55,000 US military personnel found that women are just as likely to physically assault their partners. We also know from the US Dept. of Justice’s Survey of State Prison Inmates that women are 24% more likely to kill their children than men, and 32% more likely to kill relatives, children included.

So why does the myth of the oppressed female continue?

Fans of Richard Dawkins might say it is the result of a mental gene, or meme, that predisposes people to believe in certain things. It does seem that we have a natural distaste for seeing women harmed or treated harshly. You are 200 times more likely to see a man die on screen than a woman. It is telling that Hector says to his wife in The Iliad that men would rather die than watch women dying. Its one of the reasons that even in Israel, where women are conscripted, very few serve in combat units and they are exempt from reserve duty. Van Creveld says that in his decades of teaching at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, not one female student has ever had to miss one of his classes for this obligation that affects many of the young men. Its hard to quantify all the ways women are treated more gently and paternalistically in the sphere of law and order. When police respond to an incident, women are much more likely to get off with a warning than men. This applies to every single category of offence, and is even true when factors like prior arrest records are controlled for. In Britain, women are six times as likely to be acquitted of manslaughter, and have an easier time convincing juries that they acted under provocation in cases of murder. Their charms work on male cops, jurors, and judges as much as female ones. This happened even to female Nazis on trial for their roles in the euthanasia program.

The love does not appear to be reciprocal, if only from the amount of fictional works by female authors imagining a future utopia without men, from Mary Bradley’s 1890 novel Mizora to more recent works like Joanna Russ’s The Female Man (1975) or Dorris Lessing’s The Cleft (2008). Are there any males fantasizing of a world without women? Nonsense. We like them too much.

The Complaining Sex

This brings us to something in the nature of women. Of course, feminism as an ideology should never be synonymous with being female. But there are forms of feminism that give political expression to something almost inherent in the gender. Women are the complaining sex; they seek attention and often seethe with a mysterious resentment. Freud might have put this resentment down to penis envy. Coupled with male deference, we have a prescription for disaster. Now, not all women possess the traits just described. History is replete with examples of women with nothing but contempt for those living on the privileges of their gender. The first known female commander, Queen Artemisia of Caria, Van Creveld tells us, told Xerxes that Greeks were as superior to Persians as men are to women. Queen Elizabeth I was fond of cracking what would be called today misogynist jokes.

Yet the grievances of woman appear to be as endless as they often are baseless. In the medical sphere, Florence Nightingale was perceptive enough to admit in Cassandra that many female patients are merely seeking attention. Patterns of suicide (a supreme form of complaint) in the sexes are a good indicator. Men are significantly more likely to kill themselves than women. But worldwide, women are four times as likely to attempt suicide. Perhaps they are remarkably incompetent. Perhaps they are practising the fine art of appearing vulnerable.

Is feminism related to this dynamic? Just as female patients, such as Freud’s Dora, have based their lives around imagined illnesses and relished the attention, so others find a purpose in grievances, real or imagined.

Some insight may come from the anorgasmic woman, or female frigidity. This has caused no end of anguish in men, who are expected to bear the blame. Yet frigidity is quite a often a ruse; a way to lash out at a male partner. Simone de Beauvoir was quite candid about the subject, finding the courage to address it after being ‘cured’ of her frigidity by the American writer Nelson Algreen. What de Beauvoir writes in The Second Sex on the subject of frigidity could well describe the mindset of the extreme feminist. Replace the word ‘frigidity’ with ‘feminism’ and you get the point:

Resentment is the most common cause of feminine frigidity; in bed the woman punishes the man for all the wrongs she feels she has endured, by offering him an insulting coldness. There is often an aggressive inferiority complex apparent in her attitudes… She is thus revenged at once upon him and upon herself if he has humiliated her by neglect, if he has made her jealous, if he was slow in declaring her intentions, if he took her as a mistress while she wanted marriage. The grievance can flare up suddenly and set off this reaction even in a liaison that began happily… Frigidity… would appear to be a punishment that woman imposes as much upon herself as upon her partner; wounded in her vanity, she feels resentment against him and against herself, and she denies herself the pleasure.

I will end with another quote, from Van Creveld himself, in the final chapter of The Privileged Sex: “It would be nice… if from time to time, amid the torrents of invective feminists spew at us, we occasionally heard a pleasant female voice saying “thank you, Mate”.”

With that, I and most men would be quite content to be guinea pigs and beasts of burden for the privileged sex.

See Also: Women in Combat

The Inaugural Young Professional Lobby for Israel

On Wednesday I joined over 70 young professional types for a lobby of Parliament organised by Israel Connect (the youth wing of the Zionist Federation). This was held in partnership with Christian Friends of Israel. It was also the first of its kind, in being exclusively for the under-30′s.

Israel’s Deputy Israeli Ambassador, Alon-Roth Snir, opened with a briefing on the Middle East situation, focusing on the political turmoil in the Arab states and the problems Israel faces when nobody is quite sure who will be in charge next door in a year’s time, or even six months. While its hard to point to a time where the situation in the Middle East has been rosy and ordered, this level of uncertainty is unprecedented.

The Deputy Ambassador grabbed attention in February this year when he was disrupted by a gang of 40 thugs at the University of Essex who caused a lecture to be cancelled. Essex, I am told, has been traditionally dubbed ‘Red Essex’, but such displays of fanaticism are not uncommon. The sheer level of vitriol on campus can be intimidating for people with pro-Israel leanings, to the extent that many I know admit its not worth the trouble of speaking out.

Here is where lobbying events like this can help. What was most remarkable at the Israel Connect lobby was the amount of sincere cross-party support for Israel on display in Westminster. Young friends of Israel, who often have to deal with so much hostility, particularly  on campus, should be heartened to see the level of backing we actually have.

While I am sure one doesn’t have to be a particularly discerning reader to realize that my own views are far from left-wing, when it comes to Israel, opinions should no be split on a left/right basis. I am quite convinced that this is what the enemy has been attempting to do; namely, trying to bring the entire left into their camp with the aim of automatically precluding anybody of  a ‘progressive’ bent from supporting Israel. This is an effort all friends of Israel have to fight ferociously. It is perhaps our single biggest challenge.  The middle 80% of the population should be entirely open to us.

So while I am a Conservative, I most enjoyed hearing from people like Labour’s Fabian Hamilton MP, who spoke about his positive experiences in bringing Muslim colleagues to Israel to witness the reality there.

Louise Ellman MP also highlighted the importance of  putting across Israel’s case to our MPs, especially those who may not have strong opinions on Israel, so that they are not solely hearing misleading information from the anti-Israel side.

All well and good, but I would add that this is an effort that should not be confined to MPs.

Fabian Hamilton 2- IMG_4055

Fabian Hamilton MP speaking.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Must Be Proscribed By The UK and EU

Last month, you may remember, a drone flying in Israeli airspace was shot down by an F-16. The same thing happened in October last year. These drones, launched from Lebanon, have been pinned to Hezbollah. Yet placing the blame on Hezbollah alone would only be partly accurate.

Bibi Netanyahu once claimed on Bill Maher’s show that there is no war between Israel and Hezbollah; the fight is really between Israel and Iran. As a force, Hezbollah could easily be described as a forward unit of the Iranian army. It receives between $100-200 million dollars a year from Iran, it uses Iranian weapons, it receives training from Iranians, and in many respects is subject to Iranian control. Any drones used by Hezbollah are certainly Iranian in origin and may very well be launched by Iranians operating on Lebanese soil.

The so-called Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution, or the Revolutionary Guards, are at the heart of this effort.  The Guards are notorious not only for their role in Iran’s military. They are an elite class and a powerful commercial conglomerate that may very well control one-third of the Iranian economy. According to Emanuele Ottolenghi, part of their mandate is to export the Islamist revolution of 1979 abroad. For this, they have a 12,000 strong ‘Quds Force’. These fighters have operated not only in the Middle East against Israel and America. They assisted Bosnian Muslims against the Serbs during the Balkans conflict in the 1990′s. The notorious 1994 bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires, which killed 85, has been attributed to Hezbollah’s Imad Mughniyeh, taking orders from Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, and Ghassem Soleimani, the head of the Quds Force. Delhi has accused the Iranian Revolutionary Guards of involvement in an attack on an Israeli diplomat in that city last year. I could go on.

Islamist groups like Hamas have been proscribed by the EU and the UK for the same reasons the Revolutionary Guards should. The fact that they are not classed as such now seems like a glaring oversight. The Quds Force, specifically, was declared a terrorist organization by Canada last year, and by the United States before that. This is a positive, but to really cripple this army of international terrorism, the funding and accounts of all Revolutionary Guard members and businesses inside the EU ought to be frozen. Weakening the Revolutionary Guards would benefit the safety of people all over the world. However, standing up to Iran in this way would also mean that the country will find it much harder to ignore international efforts to stop their nuclear program.

And wouldn’t you know it, there is a petition calling on the EU and the UK government to proscribe the Iranian Revolutionary Guards right here. This is an initiative of the Zionist Federation, who have produced a handy six page brief on the matter, highlighting the group’s terrorist activities and extreme ideology.  

Useful Links:

Petition: Proscribe Iranian Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist group

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards: Brief

Facebook:  List The Iranian Revolutionary Guards As A Terrorist Group

The Politics of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

Today, the New York Times features on op-ed on the anniversary of the first shots of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. It is significant that it is written by a professor of intellectual history who specializes in “the history of literary and political engagement with Marxism and phenomenology”. We are told by this lady, Marci Shore, that the Uprising was led by an assortment of Zionists, led by Mordechai Anielewicz, joined by the non-Zionist socialists of the Bund like Marek Edelman, all under the banner of the Jewish Combat Organisation (ZOB). We are told of their brave battle from the bunkers of the Ghetto, and the raising of the Zionist and Polish flags on its tallest building. We are told that the ” Zionist far-right” had its own resistance organisation, the Jewish Military Union (ZZW), but nothing else is said of them.

There we have it: the standard, misleading, fairy-tale account of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, from the original paper of record.

The Real Story of the Uprising

What you wont know from reading the New York Times is that this mysteriously absent group, the ZZW, was roughly the same size as the ZOB. It was they who raised the Jewish and Polish standards on the Ghetto’s tallest building in Muranowski Square. They kept those flags flying under days of bombardment, much to the ire of the Germans and the awe of the city’s Poles. The longest, fiercest fighting during the the three weeks of the Uprising took place on this square, in the district defended by the ZZW. This is clear from the report of Jürgen Stroop, the SS man in charge of the Ghetto’s liquidation. After the war, Marek Edelman, given a prominent place in the New York Times account, was told by unequivocally by Stroop that “the strongest defense was at Muranowsi Square”. He could vividly recall the fighting there, but not at other areas like the Ghetto’s Brushmaker’s workshop, where Edelman and most of his colleagues were positioned – even when Edelman tried to remind him of it.

So, who were the ZZW? They were mostly composed of Jewish veterans of the Polish armed forces. They were politically to the right: anti-Communist and followers of Vladimir Jabotinsky’s brand of Revisionist Zionism. The ZOB, on the other hand, were dominated by labor Zionists like their leader, Anielewicz. Therein lies the issue: for a long time, there was no powerful political constituency to raise awareness of the ZZW’s struggle. There were plenty who wanted to suppress it. It is amazing to think that even in the face of such a ruthless enemy and imminent death, there were especially vicious and disastrous political animosities among the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto, and the rivalries were still at work many years after the event.

It is also remarkable that as early as December 1943, the great historian of the Ghetto, Emmanuel Ringelblum, a left-wing Zionist who denounced the ideology of the Revisionists, complained that the ZZW were being written out of history. In a letter to a colleague he asked “[W]hy is there no information on the ZZW in the history? They must leave an imprint, even if in our eyes, they are unsympathetic”.

First, a little more background.

The ZZW was founded in November 1939, much earlier than ZOB, which was founded in the summer of 1942. It was better armed and had better military training, given the veterans in its ranks and the militaristic nature of Revisionist youth movements like Betar that were attracted to it. They had much better contact with the Polish Home Army than the ZOB, because so many were former comrades in arms. The ZZW was able to secure machine guns, while other Jewish groups were not.

In fact, prior to the war, the Polish government had been secretly transferring arms to the Irgun, the Revisionist militia in the British Mandate of Palestine. The extent of this cooperation is demonstrated in a very moving story told by Moshe Arens in Flags Over The Warsaw Ghetto. During the Nazi bombardment of Warsaw in September 1939, Lili Strassman, founder of a group of Jewish intellectuals in the city who supported the Irgun, was confined to a bomb shelter while her husband, Henryk, was fighting. He would become one of the officers murdered under Stalin’s orders at Katyn. Strassman knew there were arms stored in the city that had been transferred to the Irgun but not yet shipped. She braved intense bombing to find these arms and take them to the commander of the defense of Warsaw, General Walerian Czuma. She received a receipt for the weapons and wrote of her happiness to help the Poland in its hour of need.

While the leadership of the ZZW was right-wing, they stressed they were foremost a fighting organisation. They welcomed leftists into their ranks if they were skilled enough fighters. One of their men was even nicknamed Moshe the Bolshevik.

The same could not be said of their rivals. The ZZW approached the ZOB about uniting the efforts of the Jewish Resistance. They could not get the ZOB to accept this, partly because the ZZW proposed that the leadership should have some combat experience. This suggestion seems entirely reasonable. However, because combat veterans were disproportionately involved with the ZZW, the ZOB saw this as an attempt at a power grab. Some socialist factions under the ZOB umbrella slandered the ZZW as “fascists”. They put the welfare of their own people behind left-wing ideology, even at that moment in history.

Such behavior gives you a good indication of why the Polish Home Army was less inclined to assist the ZOB. They saw them as political demagogues, many too sympathetic to the Bolsheviks to be trusted.

Unfortunately, the leaders of the ZZW, Pawel Frenkel and Leon Rodal, died in the fighting. The story of their amazing bravery was forgotten. These people were offered the chance to escape the doomed Ghetto and take up the fight with the Home Army, but they insisted on fighting and dying with their people. During the Uprising, Rodal was able to don an SS uniform, join a group of Germans, and lead them right into an ambush.

But their story was not only neglected after the war. It was covered up.

Myth and Memory

One of the conspirators here was Marek Edelman, praised extensively in today’s New York Times. The other was the Soviet Union, and to Shore’s credit she mentions their distortion of the record.

Edelman had an agenda in his famous book, The Ghetto Fights. He sought to downplay the role of the Revisionists and the Jewish right-wing, and play up the role of socialists and socialism. Firstly, he lied about the size of the ZZW, depicting it as far smaller than it actually was. Most unforgivably, he claimed at one point in the book that they fled the fighting almost as soon as it began. None of this was true. The German reports completely contradict it. As do the accounts of non-Jewish Poles, many of whom saw the Jewish and Polish standards being raised by the ZZW and being flown during the fight. Left-wing extremists of Edelman’s ilk also sought to portray the Polish Home Army as an anti-Semitic force that failed to adequately assist the Jews.  It suited the agenda of the new Soviet occupiers to paint the Polish Home Army as anti-Semitic and reactionary, after Stalin had so blatantly betrayed them. This was a communist caricature, but it has a hold on the popular image of the Uprising even today.

It must also be mentioned that successive Israeli governments, dominated by Labour Zionists for about 30 years, were in no hurry to correct false portrayals of their political rivals in the Revisionist camp.

It is a shame for ideological agendas to distort the story of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. It is sad that this happened in the 1940′s, but its truly pathetic that it goes on 70 years later in the New York Times. I cannot help but recall the words of Ghetto fighter and ZZW leader Leon Rodal said to his comrades on the eve of battle:

During that far-off period of slavery, when the Roman legions trampled almost the entire ancient world, and the whole world kneeled before them, only one small Roman province, Judea, took up arms, rose up to fight for freedom and in defense of the honour of man, against a world of injustice. And this is the reason why Judea is inscribed in the history of man as a symbol of the fight for the spirit of man… Maybe, some day, after many years, when the history of the struggle against the Nazi conquerors is written, we also will be remembered, and who knows, we will become – like small Judea in its day, which fought mighty Rome – the symbol of man’s spirit that cannot be suppressed, whose essence is the fight for freedom, for the right to live, and the right to exist.

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The defense of the Warsaw Ghetto was based on a triangle, whose apex was Muranowski Square. The corners of the base were to be the Mila -Zamenhofa and the Gensia-Nalewki intersections. ZZW was to hold Muranowski Square and the ZOB the two angles of the base.

Thatcher, Thatcher, Revolution Snatcher

To be a conservative, William F. Buckley once said at a fundraiser, means to have a less than totally harmonious relationship with our times. This is because it is precisely the deepest roots of our civilization that are out of fashion. It is draining to always find yourself always on the defensive, in the face of what is perceived as progress.

It doesn’t help when it appears that we have no help from the party that styles itself as the standard-bearer of British conservatism. We live under a Conservative-led government that, until UKIP became a genuine threat, seemed to spend most of its time trying to impress people who will never vote Conservative. We have a coalition that has decided to be the most pro-homosexual government in British history. All well and good, but it wont secure a single seat for the Tories.

Lady Thatcher’s death hit me harder than I imagined it would. Yet I was happy outside of St. Paul’s yesterday; happy to see so much love for the woman, and happy to meet people who took the time to come from as far afield as Liverpool, Ireland, and even Israel to line the route. Seeing the dignified funeral and attending a wonderful tribute event afterward with the soundest people on these British Isles emphasized the need to rebuild her movement and renew the vigor of the Thatcher era within the Conservative Party.

Talk to anybody involved in the Conservative Party under Thatcher and their attitude is summed up by Wordsworth: “Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, But to be young was very heaven!” That feeling is not there among Tories today, young or old. There is no sense we are doing anything important.

Wordsworth was talking about the French Revolution; and we love Thatcher precisely because she was our revolutionary. By the time she gained the premiership, state control of industry had been the consensus in Britain for decades. The powerful trade unions had advanced to become a major pillar of the Establishment.

Now, it was time to put the socialists on the defensive. It was their turn defend institutions that were losing the faith of the public. For the most part, intellectuals and the creative classes played no part in generating this disenchantment; ordinary people simply realized that the existing institutions were not working.

Martin Van Creveld says there will always be war because men love war, and women love warriors. We will always love revolutions, too, and its a lot more gender inclusive.

Margaret Thatcher struck at the roots of the enemy’s philosophy, and she succeeded admirably. Britain went from a country where one could wait months to get a phone line installed, to having the most competitive telecommunications industry in the world. She created a nation of homeowners where once a third of the population lived in state housing. Her privatisation of industry and her crushing of Stalinist union leaders like Arthur Scargill  led to a fundamental shift in British society, where holding shares would become more common that trade union membership.

Her success is evident from the fact that nobody since she left office, whether Labour, Liberal, or Conservative, is calling for the nationalization of industry. Neil Kinnock may still denounce Thatcher’s reforms for causing hardship in some quarters, but he wont do it. Similarly,  Labour supporters today tend to be embarrassed by the fact that their party opposed the right for council tenants to buy their homes.

It was, of course, a revolutionary time beyond Britain. It was a time of fundamentally conservative revolutions, from Chile to Eastern Europe. Finally, we were putting motherfuckers like Ceausescu up against the wall. These revolutions had their dark episodes (Chile comes to mind), but also produced fine specimens of liberal states, like Estonia.

A word also needs to be said about Thatcher and class. Thatcher helped to foster a new class consciousness, which emphasized what really mattered: the struggle between the taxpayers and the tax eaters. I have long quipped that if I were to start a conservative/libertarian political movement, I would call it the Workers’ Party. Thatcher gave the majority class of private sector workers the political representation it deserved, something I believe they have lost and today’s Tories must give. Martin Durkin described this awakening, that resulted in Britain’s working classes fleeing from Labour, in City AM recently:

“To the horror of the Left, Thatcher, re-defined the class struggle. The socialists argued that “the workers” were being ripped off by “the bosses”. But when workers looked at their wages and saw almost half had gone, they knew it wasn’t the bosses who had taken it…“Socialism” was reduced to fleecing hard-working people in the private sector to keep the middle class public sector gravy train rolling”.

Prior to Thatcher you had to be part a union before you could work in some industries. Strikes could be called without vote, and very often there was no secret ballot. So who was on the side of the worker?

My hope and comfort at this somber time is that the death of Thatcher, the tributes, and the debate will inspire us to complete her free market revolution in this country and beyond.

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