March for Free Expression

The next phase

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Revived

Sorry it's been so quiet; a nasty bug knocked me out for a week or so. A rigorous course of Famous Grouse, local honey and Vindaloo has worked its magic, though, and I'll be catching up over the course of the day.

The policy meeting is now well subscribed, I'll confirm by email to everyone who has expressed a wish to attend. I'll also publish a draft agenda in the next 24 hours.

Religious enthusiasm is not our only problem. Ten year old boys say nasty things to each other in playgrounds all over the world. They do not all end up in court. We have work to do...

82 Comments:

Blogger TheFriendlyInfidel said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:53 am  
Blogger TheFriendlyInfidel said...

Ten year old boys say nasty things to each other in playgrounds all over the world.

Completely off topic, but a true story:

I was walking though the park the other day and one boy shouted "look 'arry that dog is trying to f*** that other dog".

Being a bit of a language pendant, I said to the child, "A female dog is called a bitch".

He looked thoughtful for a moment and said "Look 'arry that dog is trying to f*** that bitch".

I walked away content that that I broadened the young mans education a little

Cheers,

TFI

10:55 am  
Blogger British National Party member said...

lol, thats naughty! Im not sure i approve :/

1:24 pm  
Blogger A Nonny Mouse said...

Glad your back n feeling better.
This story is just another example of how we are muzzled as our land and culture is taken from us by the muslims.

6:37 pm  
Blogger Derius said...

The following comments are from our beloved Home Secretary, Jack Straw:

“I said at the time that the cartoons were reprinted in Europe, that doing so was needlessly insensitive and disrespectful”

“The existence of such a right (free speech), does not mean that it is right, morally right, politically right, socially right, to exercise that freedom without regard to the feelings of others”

“One should use free speech responsibly, and with regards to the feelings of others”

“You should respect other people’s beliefs”

The above views are, unfortunately widely held. Although one should never expect any better from our Foreign Secretary, who once stated as a matter of fact on the radio that the borders of Iraq were a result of British Colonialism, when it was in fact they were agreed between the Persian and Ottoman Empires, with the help of the Russians in the Treaty of Erzrum in 1847, it is saddening fact that otherwise very intelligent people begin to come up with all sorts of nonsense when talking about the rights of free speech. I have therefore compiled a list of questions, which one might like to ask when meeting such people, who seem happy to exercise their right to free speech by telling others that they don’t have the right to exercise theirs:

1. Are all beliefs worthy of respect? If so, should Fascism be respected?

2. If only some beliefs are worthy of “respect”, who decides which ones are worthy and which ones are not? Is it you, me, the Government, the media? Who?

3. If a belief system is deemed to be worthy of “respect”, (by whoever that should decide this), does that mean that free speech is then superseded, and one can’t criticize that particular ideology?

4. Can one only criticise someone’s beliefs if they aren’t liable to take offence, and not if they are?

5. I find restrictions on free speech, with the exception of inciting violence, to be offensive. Does this mean that people may not ever suggest otherwise, out of respect for my beliefs? Do my beliefs merit “respect”?

6. What exactly is “responsible” use of free speech? Who decides what is “responsible”, and what isn’t? Isn’t “responsible” a very vague adjective, which could be interpreted in a number of sinister ways?

7. Surely, the decision of deciding what is “responsible” use of free speech involves guessing what the reaction to the words will be? Does it therefore follow that fanatics should not then be criticised, because provoking their reaction may have violent consequences? Should be only mock or criticize non violent people, as this is more “responsible”? What about acting against fanatics? Could this also be deemed to be irresponsible by the same line of argument, and therefore to be avoided?

8. If a person’s reaction to a criticism is unjustified, is it the fault of the person who used the right of free speech, because they used it “irresponsibly”? If so, aren’t we taking away the responsibility of peoples reactions away from them? How is this attitude responsible in itself, by making people not accountable for their own actions?

9. Shouldn’t the merits of a criticism of someone’s beliefs be of more worth than that person’s reaction to that criticism? Otherwise aren’t we valuing truth less than people’s reactions to that truth? Does this therefore not follow into believing that truth should sometimes be suppressed, and people stopped from finding and discussing it? Who will decide which truths must not be discovered or discussed? Doesn’t this line of argument lead on into totalitarianism?

10. What are we to make of this statement from Peter Mandelson:

“One has the right to free speech, but you are not always obligated to exercise that right”

Doesn’t this actually translate as “you have the right to free speech, but not always the right to exercise that right.”? Just what have I misunderstood about this statement? I hope I have misunderstood something.

11. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR 1948), in Articles 2 and 18, uphold the right to Freedom of Speech. Do they disagree with this aspect of the declaration? If so, what do they think it should be changed to?

12. Should anybody be prosecuted for publishing the Jyllands Posten cartoons? If so, how does equate this with the notion of free speech? Do they believe in free speech at all, or only in part?

And the last question is to go to Jack Straw himself:

13. I find your beliefs to be against those of established European human rights, for which many people have fought and died for, and yet you said in a recent speech that the Government recently focussed on human rights work during their Presidency of the European Union. Aren’t you, sir, actually focussing on trying to take our human rights away?

Indeed, there is much work to be done.

11:17 pm  
Blogger British National Party member said...

Peter mandelson also said "Our job is to create the truth"

In your quote of him, i think he is strictly right; we arnt obligated to use free speech as a matter of course. That would lead to "voluntary" touretts!

While im with you in suspecting he would rather we all just shut up, and indeed that he and others like him would like to make us do so, i dont think that sentance is proof of it, just more weasel words from a weasel establishment. Run of the mill stuff.

I think The rest of your post is well done. It is a logical sequence, and we are towards the end of it now.

11:54 pm  
Blogger Sir Percy said...

Interesting post Derius!

I've taken the liberty of copying it onto my political forum:

www.talkveritas.com

I hope that's ok with you.

12:47 pm  
Blogger Sir Percy said...

(sorry about the link - I forgot to put "http://" in front of the address)

12:49 pm  
Blogger Will B said...

Another plug Sir Percy! lol.

Derius, may I make use of those questions?

1:50 pm  
Blogger FreeSpeech said...

I think we need a dictionnary for words like "respect". They have differnt meanings in english and in fogspeak, as I'd like to call their use of words.

2:48 pm  
Blogger FreeSpeech said...

I made an effort. Please have a look at this

4:22 pm  
Blogger Common Sense said...

The conversation I had originally had with Ismaeel is now at

what-global-civility.blogspot.com


It's missing a bit in the middle that I hadn't backed up.


Percy:

I took note of your comment. Ordinarily, I don't disagree: Ismaeel is not worth the effort.


But where I don't agree is that to date, we have been complacent. Not just the secularists, humanists and rationalists in the West. But also in my world- in the Arab/Muslim world. We have taken a back seat in Global affairs and let the religious minded hijack conversations.


While I realize that this campaign does not pit the religious and the anti-religious. The core concept of Free-Expression must necessarily permit the critique of the religious (since the latter group- by design- critique those who don't subscribe to their views, and their right to do has never been brought to question).


The reason I put up the debate with Ismaeel is so that a foot-print of it remains in the Web. So that he can always- if need be- be taken to task for his "convenient" usage of humanist terms like Civility, and Humanity. But while I won't be pursuing Ismaeel in his insiduous political maneuverings. People here at the the Campaign for Free Expression might be. And they will- should they be interested- always have his words.


And that's why I reposted them.

6:04 pm  
Blogger Common Sense said...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4904650.stm

At a time when we are reminded by Civil Muslims like Ismaeel that it is a "duty" to destroy mosques built by hypocrites, it's important to keep a tally of Shiite mosques bombed ad nauseum.

6:19 pm  
Blogger Derius said...

Sir Percy, Will B,

By all means, post my essay wherever you like. Even to Jack Straw!

It wouldn't be in keeping if I didn't let you repeat what I said on a free speech forum, now would it?

7:54 pm  
Blogger FreeSpeech said...

common sense, I regularly check your repost. Just so you know.

8:14 pm  
Blogger TheFriendlyInfidel said...

Excellent work with the assembled comments Common Sense, I thought I'd got him to blurt out stupid things but you really have taken it to a whole new level.

I note that Izzy has vanished, I wonder if he finally realised that he had said way to much.

Cheers,

TFI

12:28 am  
Blogger TheFriendlyInfidel said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:37 am  
Blogger TheFriendlyInfidel said...

Hey Sir Percy,

Why don't act on your complains about the dialogue on this boards and post something about free speech on the Policy Meeting thread?

BTW I'm not very interested in your policital site or your movements.

Cheers,

TFI

12:41 am  
Blogger Sir Percy said...

That's ok - it takes all sorts.

7:21 pm  
Blogger Sir Percy said...

Common sense - I take your point but just how important or influencial is the MAC, would you say?

Does anything that Ismaeel says really matter?

After all, there are other and better known Muslim spokesmen in the UK.

10:02 pm  
Blogger TheFriendlyInfidel said...

Sir Percy,

Well Izzy and the MAC is hardly likely to gain much influence as a result of his contribution to this board.

But as I have said on occasion, Izzy will answer questions, honestly and sincerely. This does him great credit.

The same cannot be said for the MCB, yet I very much doubt that their opinions differ much.

Did you watch the John Ware program and the subsequent fall out?

Cheers,

TFI

11:12 pm  
Blogger Sir Percy said...

Yes.

"Israel", "Palestine", "renowned Islamic scholar"

Dialogue? You'll be lucky!

11:34 pm  
Blogger St George said...

Derius:

1. Are all beliefs worthy of respect? If so, should Fascism be respected?

Does that include Islamofascism?

12:03 am  
Blogger Derius said...

"Does anything that Ismaeel says really matter?"

Sir Percy,

Unfortunately, yes. Ismaeel's views, are for the most part, straight out of the Qur'an, Hadith and Sira. Therefore, what he believes is what orthodox Islam teaches, and that is important.

As he can show others in the Muslim community that his beliefs are based on Islamic teachings, this will give him and others like him a great deal of influence among muslims themselves, and this should be a cause for great concern for anybody who believes in the values that this website stands for.

It is my belief that due to the efforts of Ismaeel, and others similarly minded, the Islamic community will become increasingly more polarised from the rest of society as time goes on. The only way this can be stopped is if muslims themselves can formulate arguments against the Islamists, based solely on Islamic teachings, and refute the arguments they present. This is not happening at the moment. All we hear from the Muslim Council of Britain is Sura 5:32 being misquoted, which will not fool any Muslims who have studied Islam in any depth at all.


Crusader,

Yes, I would incude Islamofascism with Fascism. Both are totalitarian constructs, one run by a Nationalistic Authoritarian regime, the other under a religious Authoritarian regime (the Caliphate).

7:06 am  
Blogger Sir Percy said...

Derius,

I understand what you say.

I suppose that in my thoughts leading to my comment about Ismaeel I'd already written off the remote possibility of any "dialogue" producing benefits of any substance.

As with any evangelical Christian, it seems impossible for Ismaeel to compromise because of the reality of his religion to him.

The world is becoming polarised.

Any attack on Iran will of course increase that process and it would cause many problems for western democracies with large muslim minorities.

9:22 am  
Blogger TheFriendlyInfidel said...

Sir Percy,

Regarding the MCB did you see the letters swapped between the BBC and the MCB? The BBC responded to the MCB's letter, the MCB did not acknowledge the reply. They have no interest in dialogue what so ever. It is interesting that the average Muslim in the street doesn't feel that the MCB represent them, yet just like Izzy they claim to represent them and 1.4 billion other Muslims.

Any attack on Iran will of course increase that process and it would cause many problems for western democracies with large muslim minorities.

If the Mullahs starting throwing around nuclear bombs we can look forward to a Nuclear Winter, failed crops, mass starvation, collapse of Western societies and a return to the dark ages. Ideal circumstances to reintroduce the medieval implementation of the Shiri'a. If the Mohammed won't come to the Mountain, the Mullahs will bring it him.

I believe the Muslims majority are as scared of Iran’s fruit cake president getting nukes as we are.

Cheers,

TFI

10:39 am  
Blogger schmoo said...

Regarding ... "There is work to do" - I would just like to point people, especially those disillusioned with the left, to the 'Euston Manifesto' as well as the current 'Real Fathers 4 Justice' occupation at Westminster Abby (pictures at 'schmoo on the run'). Both show the importance of effective communication, especially between those who do not agree with each other.

http://eustonmanifesto.org/joomla/
http://schmoontherun.blogspot.com

thanks

12:32 pm  
Blogger St George said...

Sir Percy:

The world is becoming polarised.


That is self evident. The clash of civilisations is a reality. That is what 'Free Expression' is all about.

The question for us is, do we want to live in the 21st century or the 7th?

2:36 pm  
Blogger Derius said...

With regards to Iran, it will be interesting to see who acts first.

Nobody wants Iran with nuclear capabilities, with the exception of Hezbollah and a few other Shi'ite sects. Saudi Arabia would be very concerned, as would Israel, Europe and America. With such widespread backing, the UN might eventually endorse military intervention. This would be a long way off, however.

Also, TFI, remember that most Muslims living in Europe are Sunni Muslims. They naturally will be opposed to anything America does, but aren't particularly fond of Ahmadinejad either, as he is a Shi'ite. I am not sure what their reaction would be.

Meanwhile, Bush is fighting that "War on Terror" in Iraq, with his Democracy to an Islamic State and his Shi'ia State to the Sunni's strategy. What a policy.

If America had invested the 400 billion dollars they have now spent in Iraq on various renewable fuel resources instead, then the West would now be far less dependant on oil, and the revenues of countries like Iran would also be far lower. That would have made the world a safer and more stable place, I think.

4:33 pm  
Blogger TheFriendlyInfidel said...

If America had invested the 400 billion dollars they have now spent in Iraq on various renewable fuel resources instead, then the West would now be far less dependant on oil, and the revenues of countries like Iran would also be far lower. That would have made the world a safer and more stable place, I think.

Here, here.

5:01 pm  
Blogger muscularliberalswatch said...

Boy do I hate spammers. A new movement has started, an excellent manifesto, written by top notch academics

http://muscularliberalswatch.blogspot.com/

12:26 am  
Blogger Common Sense said...

Derius:

If America had invested the 400 billion dollars they have now spent in Iraq on various renewable fuel resources instead, then the West would now be far less dependant on oil, and the revenues of countries like Iran would also be far lower. That would have made the world a safer and more stable place, I think.

I think everyone should be doing their small part by going green. Don't know where you live, but in N. America, the culture of excess is astounding.

Also, putting money into a problem doesn't always fix it, especially when a lot of this money spent was probably on military salaries/military infra-structure, that the Bush adminstration may not be so averse to spending.

Though I think the top-down approach is necessary, I definitely think a profound change in spending/consumption culture has to happen.

8:43 pm  
Blogger Will B said...

Revived? Has anyone had any contact with Peter regarding the policy meeting on the 22nd? I contacted him about it a few weeks ago and it is the 18th now and STILL nothing... help?

1:50 pm  
Blogger Pinching My Biscuits said...

Sent a couple of emails and haven't heard a thing. Hmmm.

4:20 pm  
Blogger publicansdecoy said...

Ah, whoops, that was meant to be me.

4:21 pm  
Blogger Will B said...

Ok. Something isn't right.

11:13 pm  
Blogger TheFriendlyInfidel said...

Yes this whole thing has become very quiet indeed. I think that Izzy wore everyone out. However I still think that this cause is honorable and I'll be gutted if it fizzles out.

I'd certianly like to know what is planned for Saturday, because if it isn't going to happen I can plan to do other things ...

Cheers,

TFI

12:39 pm  
Blogger Sir Percy said...

I don't think that Ismaeel wore anyone out TFI.

When he started using the word "know" instead of "believe" there was a collective realisation that we were attempting to have a dialogue with someone about serious issues which, from his point of view, it was impossible for him to compromise on.

So we were left with mere words, sometimes polite and well-crafted words, but nothing more. Polite words which did little to mask his real intention.

I'm sure that a lot of other posters here have that empty feeling inside concerning the possibility of dialogue with the Ismaeel's of this world (and I would also include Christian Evangelicals and extreme Orthodox Jews in that list too).

There does come a point where groups of people simply do not and can not possibly agree. I think that we may have reached that point here following the silly fuss over the Danish cartoons.

Our freedom of speech is under attack right now and I hope that enough people can be raised from their slumber to defend it - before it becomes just another folk-memory in our collective conciousness.

1:06 pm  
Blogger TheFriendlyInfidel said...

Sir Percy,

If there is a full moon I fully expect Izzy and the whole merry band of fanatics from religious backgrounds to hollow at it. Anyone that has complete belief denies reason.

I've actually performed hypnosis in my time and have a great understanding of the power of belief. For instance, you can tell people physical objects aren't there and they will do their best to believe that to be true, even when all their own senses are telling them otherwise. It’s frightening to think that religions could / can / does play with the brain in a similar way.

Personally I think that Common Sense finally got to Izzy when he commented that he believed that Izzy’s children ought be able to choose their own religion and they wouldn’t have this freedom under Islamic rule. This cut because Izzy himself converted to Islam from Catholicism.

Incidentally I finally got around to watching “War on Science” which was about Intelligent Design*, from the point of view of religious fanatics imposing their beliefs on us, the far right Christians in America is doing much more damage than Global Civility’s “assault” on free speech.

Cheers,

TFI
* Have you ever noticed that people that support ID, themselves seem to lack the I?

4:23 pm  
Blogger TheFriendlyInfidel said...

Footnote to this, the attack on free speech is difficult to trace to any specific organization, current we have self imposed censorship borne from fear of violent retaliation.

Our government seems to be intent on putting the rest of us into a straight jacket, ensuring that we cannot upset the status quo.

Cheers,

TFI

4:27 pm  
Blogger Common Sense said...

the far right Christians in America is doing much more damage than Global Civilitys assault on free speech.

TFI. There is always a risk, when adopting a position, to take an extreme on any end.

ID, Religiosity... might be ideas that are strange, foreign, absurd, un-intelligent to you, or to me, or a handful of people. But you cannot, in the open society try to suppress these ideas, or worry about them. You can only rely on the power of your ideas and their ability to convince the masses in an environment that encourages free exchange of ideas.

This is why the Izzys try to suppress talk. Or say they want people to "voluntarily" shut up. Whatever else you may think of the ID crowd, at least all they "currently" call for is saying that Evolution is a theory, amongst other theories to be taught alongside ID.

And if a religious person wants to reconcile known science with their faith by Pulling a 21st century Averroes trick, and concocting an ID theory, then that is their prerogative.

You have to rely on the strength of your scientific knowledge to discount their position.

5:39 pm  
Blogger Ismaeel said...

TFI said:
Personally I think that Common Sense finally got to Izzy when he commented that he believed that Izzy’s children ought be able to choose their own religion and they wouldn’t have this freedom under Islamic rule. This cut because Izzy himself converted to Islam from Catholicism.

LOL, no, nice theory though, i just got bored plain and simple.

7:53 pm  
Blogger British National Party member said...

TFI friday wrote;

"I've actually performed hypnosis in my time and have a great understanding of the power of belief. For instance, you can tell people physical objects aren't there and they will do their best to believe that to be true, even when all their own senses are telling them otherwise. It’s frightening to think that religions could / can / does play with the brain in a similar way."

Did you *see* derren browns "the heist" the other day? i was moved to make a post about it, it was mind blowing to me. In breif, derren brown made 3 people without a criminal record (middle managers and IT consultant types) commit what they thought was a real armed robbery, without even telling them to.

Awesome powers.

9:25 pm  
Blogger aeneas said...

Personally, I have been silent on this blog because I live in the North of England and have felt that until the policy meeting is over there is nothing really that I can contribute. I made the journey to the rally because this is a cause that I believe in. However, I speak now because I could't stand the silence.

TFI – it will only fizzle out if we let it, if the worst comes to the worst, which I do not believe will happen, we can build from single figures. All a cause needs is dedicated individuals who are willing to persevere and move forward. The evidence I have seen from those posting here is that there are many dedicated people who are willing to work hard to build something with the potential for greatness.

Perhaps those in London should just turn up to the stated location, and if the event is cancelled then they could get talking to others and arrange a way forward.

From my regional perspective I feel that we need to develop a regional organisation so that events can be organised everywhere. What do people think?

10:00 pm  
Blogger TheFriendlyInfidel said...

Ah, the sweet smell of a controversial posting. Welcome back boys.

Izzy, don't you believe that your children ought be allowed to choose their own faith? Isn't this one of those Western ideas that you claim to admire? BTW I liked the phase "polemical showboating", very disappointed that you could share the public debate workload with one of the other 1.4 billion Musilms you claim represent. Still no point in dialogue is there, especially when now is the time for action.

BNP dude, I did see that programme. My jaw was on the floor. The other one he did was "The Messiah" where he convinced many weak minded Americans he was touched with divine powers. Shocking simple to pull wool over the eyes of the stupid.

Common Sense, I hear what you say but the that well organised attack is to be admired and addressed. Weak minds will always grab at the simple answer instead of the complex one. What could be simpler than to claim that God^H^H^H the designer did this / that? I suggest that you order a copy of freakonomics and have a read about the concept of "common wisdom".

Aeneas, I think you are right. I'll be doing that on Saturday and I'll get back to you about what happened.

Q. Regarding Peter, how many days do we leave it before we report a missing blogger?

Cheers,

TFI

11:43 pm  
Blogger Common Sense said...

TFI:

Read Freakonomics. Great book.

I don't disagree. But the reality is that there are millions of people who need the faith to give significance to their lives.

And if that's what it takes them to roll along, then who are we to judge?

As long as they don't transgress the limit and say that x,y, z cannot say this or that, and assume that their feelings as faithful should reflect on peoples' rights to express themselves.

11:47 pm  
Blogger Common Sense said...

Percy:

I apologize, I haven't gotten back to your point.

Common sense - I take your point but just how important or influencial is the MAC, would you say?

Does anything that Ismaeel says really matter?

After all, there are other and better known Muslim spokesmen in the UK.



Izzy of-course, is incosequential. He has been so from day 1, and prior to me writing to him. To borrow a Platonic concept: he is but an archetype.

The March for Free Expression attracts a wide spectrum of people: from Secularists/Humanists, to proponents of gay rights, to Right wing white supremecasists, to disgruntled ex- or liberal Muslims. And everything I write is intended for these people as an audience- not to Izzy.


I followed some of Izzy's previous posts, his letters, and some of the debates that some of you had with him. And sadly, I find many of the participants falling into the same trap- the trap of getting stuck defending yourselves or your ideas.


First and foremost, what you have to understand about Izzy- not as a person- he's irrelavant (how pathetic must one be to be an Englishman who's inherited 1000 years of "perceived" wrongs commited against the Islamic world... reminds me of an anti-establishment white person who fancies himself to be African and once enslaved by the White man.. it's actually pathetically funny. But I digress)... what you have to understand about the archetype of Izzy (be they Wahabii, Sufi, Evangelical, Buddhist extremist) is their attempt to sanitize their position by putting you on the defensive.

Take Will B as an example. At one point, Izzy said "Traditional Christianity was intolerant", and the poor guy attempted to insist that it was "Just those Catholics, who are not really traditional Christians".

This, in terms of debate points, is a point to Izzy because he has managed to get at least 1 person to explain himself and go on the defensive. What Will should have said is "why are you crying about Catholics expelling Muslims, replace Catholics with Muhammad and Muslims with non-Muslims, and you have a situation a bigot like yourself is perfectly comfortable with".

Izzy, deep down inside KNOWS that Muhammad is a terrorist. Now he won't say so. Because if you take his own perspective on Muhammad's history, and replace Pagan with Islam and Muhammad with Ferdinand the Conquistador, and recount the narrative to him: He will say, without question, that this is the act of an "intolerant traditional christianity". It is not the acts of the Conquistadors that bother Izzy... it is the fact that it is a group that he idealogically disagrees with. If the same action was performed by Muhammad, or one of the Islamic schools he agrees with.. then he doesn't have an issue with it.

But I didn't need to have that conversation with the Izzy archetype to figure that out. I played along with him waiting for him to make remarks like "I have an issue with non-Muslims destroying Mosques to spread their ideas, because their ideas are wrong". By virtue of him starting a Global Civility movement based on some Cartoons... it betrays his position. There was a thousand other occasions for him to start an internet drive to encourage Global Civility.

So back to my point. What everyone has to remember when discussing issues with Izzy's is that they will flip the conversation- any conversation- to put you on the defensive.

If they support blowing up Buddhas, they'll appeal to the sense of good people who are bothered when people are impoverished and hungry. Thereby deflecting any conversation about their core intolerance. They'll try to put you on the defensive by questioning why you'd send money for the upkeep of a statue, and not to the hungry. Throw it back in their face: Why do you spend money to go to Hajj and dance around a black Stone that you have the inanity to think is real estate passed by allah to the Muslims.

My posts are intended not for Izzy as an audience but the people who need a little nudge in their own personal debates- to know how to deal in conversation with the Izzys that they no doubt meet day to day.

I hope that the Will B's (again an archetype) when they come across the other Izzy's or the more important Muslim figures will learn how to apply the pressure points, and not let a bunch of bigotted, ignorant and intolerant people have the nerve to think that they know how to "Civilize" people.

4:33 am  
Blogger TheFriendlyInfidel said...

Read Freakonomics. Great book.

Great minds think alike.

I don't disagree. But the reality is that there are millions of people who need the faith to give significance to their lives.

I was struck by this when I travelled Asia, the locals couldn't understand that I had NO FAITH. They thought that it was weird and that I must lack sole. Many people are comforted by religion especially during times of hardship. The vast majority of any religion group are kinder people as a result.

And if that's what it takes them to roll along, then who are we to judge?

Its true, I don't judge them to their face. I'll always have a wry smile when they are talking about the supernatural, miracles, the voice of God and all that other nonsense.

As long as they don't transgress the limit and say that x,y, z cannot say this or that, and assume that their feelings as faithful should reflect on peoples' rights to express themselves.

That's the nub of it. Izzy wants to limit free speech to prevent the prophet from being insulted (it is his religious duty to go into terminator mode and risk the lives of any living being when this happens). The far right Christians want school science classes to teach the existence of god as proven fact (“Gawd didn’t make ME from a monkey, I was made in the image of Gawd”).

Neither of these actions is acceptable and both threaten the status quo. America might reject what it perceives as a godless science and start to persecute scientists without faith. Europe might officially sanction limits on insulting Islam and other religions in the desperate hope that they won't turn in to the incredible hulk ("don't make me angry, you won't like me when I'm angry. Grr! I rip up your city now!").

The Internet is putting together ignorant people and letting them organize themselves and agree with each other, ebbing forwards increasing extremism.

This is because weak minds also think alike.

Cheers,

TFI

9:37 am  
Blogger Sir Percy said...

A thoughtful and much appreciated response CS.

If anything, THIS is what "March for Free Expression" should be about.

It's clear than many people in the West, not just in this country, simply lack the confidence to argue effectively against extremists on a mission.

It would be a major achievement if MfFE could articulate the rightful defence of free expression in a way that could be understood and used by people up and down the country, regardless of background or political affiliation.

Now there's a challenge...

9:41 am  
Blogger TheFriendlyInfidel said...

My posts are intended not for Izzy as an audience but the people who need a little nudge in their own personal debates- to know how to deal in conversation with the Izzys that they no doubt meet day to day.

I note that his coveted debate with the Oxford Secular society is coming up and that his has chosen to remove all the comments from the GC.

This is a great pity because I believed that Izzy’s interest in dialogue was something he had in his favour, but now he has transcended this and achieved supreme vapidity.

To claim that the comments section were consuming to much of his time is laughable considering no posting has been made to it in weeks. Surely he could found one other Muslim to help him in this task. After all he claims to speak as the unifying voice for 1.4 billion others.

My other theory as to why he has been so quiet is that he doesn’t like being called “Izzy”. His sense of self demands more than that from us unbelievers.

Cheers,

TFI

9:53 am  
Blogger TheFriendlyInfidel said...

It would be a major achievement if MfFE could articulate the rightful defence of free expression in a way that could be understood and used by people up and down the country, regardless of background or political affiliation.

Personally I think that ridicule is the way forwards, that is how you expose people that are being ridiculous. Our current generations of political commenters and stand-up comics are a spineless bunch.

What could be more ridiculous than the belief that if you die in the “heat of battle” (i.e. wrapped in semtex in front a restaurant) “defending” the prophet you'll wind up having a group sex party with 72 inexperienced women for the rest of eternity?

C’mon!

Who wouldn’t trade them all in for 2-4 really experienced whores? If I was to spend the rest of existence shagging, I'd want the women to be able to teach me a few tricks. There is another school of thought says that is not women, but raisons. Can you imagine all these ancient noble warriors sitting in heaven chewing on Muesli with their left hand? “Frankly I’m rather disappointed, but all this roughage is doing my bowls the world of good …”

Cheers,

TFI

10:19 am  
Blogger Sir Percy said...

TFI - you're absolutely right.

Where is the fearless, modern equivalent of Dave Allen poking fun at some of the more ridiculous aspects of religion?

I miss him.

However, I still believe that there is place for a well co-ordinated defence of free speech that fights the battle on many fronts - logic and argument in addition to humour (which I agree has proved to be so deadly!).

I couldn't attend the meeting anyway because I'll be in France over the weekend but I really hope that something comes out of all of this.

...and may your god go with you! ;)

10:59 am  
Blogger TheFriendlyInfidel said...

However, I still believe that there is place for a well co-ordinated defence of free speech that fights the battle on many fronts - logic and argument in addition to humour (which I agree has proved to be so deadly!).

Personally I think that the humour must be constructed on logic and argument. The problem is that you cannot reason with people like Izzy, he literally "doesn't listen to reason".

Observe this pro ID humour:

http://tinyurl.com/lkm3x

Can you see any reason logic or argument in it? Each "gag" appears to be based on the premise: "how ludicrous is it to deny that there is god?" which is why I don’t ‘get’ any of the jokes. You are either on the bus, or off the bus. I’m definitely not on that bus.

All this "respect" nonsense and "teach the controversy" rubbish does nothing but give them a platform of respectably by brushing aside the rest of their ludicrous arguments. As Common Sense was showing don't do that, focus on their bullshit and don't let them define the area of the debate.

Have a great weekend in Paris, top tip, don’t take your own car there ;-)

Cheers,

TFI

1:12 pm  
Blogger TheFriendlyInfidel said...

Izzy, deep down inside KNOWS that Muhammad is a terrorist.

That's a little simplistic. He was a warrior that knew how to use the power of terror. It’s always been a feature of war, from lining the road to Rome with crucifixes to booby trapping bombs during the blitz.

As far as I can tell Mohammad was just a version of Genghis Kahn with lashings of spiritually thrown in.

Cheers,

TFI

1:18 pm  
Blogger DaveA said...

Just what time is this meeting supposed to be? I'll try and make it if I can. I don't think this thing will fizzle out. As said, it's up to us to make sure it doesn't. I haven't posted for a while but I did go on the march and have been following all the blogs here and elsewhere.

I had a lot of people come up to me and ask how the march went. I think, if there's another one, I'll be able to cajole more of them to come along. If it's more widely publicised and we all try and bring more people, we'd be in the thousands easily. A visibly growing movement will help in a lot of ways.

The cartoons were the best thing to happen to the whole situation. They've galvanised many ordinary people like me into taking action and making their views more widely heard. They've forced thousands of usually silent people all over the world to come down on a side of the fence. They've exposed politicians and media as apologists.

Thanks for some impressive argument and knowledge from the regulars on here. Excellent recent post, CS. Hope to meet some of you sometime.

Dave

1:30 pm  
Blogger Sir Percy said...

Aside to TFI:

Have a great weekend in Paris

I wish!!!

I'll be packing up the contents of our house in Normandy (I'm very sad actually).

We've decided to sell up after 16 wonderful years because we don't use it so much these days.

C'est la vie...

1:51 pm  
Blogger Common Sense said...

TFI:

>> That's a little simplistic...

I'm being facetious. Our knowledge of Muhammad, like our knowledge of Gengis is patchy. Most of what we have is from Islamic sources, and orally memorized.

I throw the word "terrorist" loosely- meaning a military leader that employed techniques of terror throughout their career.

Also, note that nobody is all bad all the time. Even Saddam Hussein did many good things in his reign while he wasn't gassing Kurds and Shias.

2:02 pm  
Blogger Common Sense said...

... also TFI...

Izzy doesn't technically "know" that Muhammad is a terrorist. He simply doesn't see the actions he commited in a negative light... or as they say, "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter".

But again, I was just beign facetious.

2:04 pm  
Blogger TheFriendlyInfidel said...

Hi Common Sense,

I know you were being facetious and trying antagonise Izzy the hand muppet of Islamafascism, it is one of my hobbies also. My response to your message was for other readers that might read you’re posting in isolation and misrepresent your point of view. It’s annoying when people post “Islamaphobia is flowing for all to see” when all they bother to interpret is the snippet “Mohammed was a terrorist”

Cheers,

TFI

3:16 pm  
Blogger TheFriendlyInfidel said...

MOL lower to Blue.

http://tinyurl.com/n86fe

Phew! Our inner cities are safe for the time being.

Cheers,

TFI

3:28 pm  
Blogger Common Sense said...

TFI:

My bad.



Will B.:

I've cleaned up one of the conversations in what-global-civility. I'll clean up the rest when I have more time.

3:37 pm  
Blogger British National Party member said...

Common sense wrote;


"...the reality is that there are millions of people who need the faith to give significance to their lives.

And if that's what it takes them to roll along, then who are we to judge?"


You know, my mum died recently. She had bought my dad a watch. When we went to her memorial, the watch stopped when we went in, and started when we came out, 1/2 an hour later. Just the other day, we went to the last place we went as a family, to an animal park. It stopped when dad parked the car, and started 1/2 an hour later.

My grandad had a clockwork grandfather clock. He was given it broken for free by a freind who couldnt fix it. He spent time on it, and got it to work. The clock stopped on the very minute that he died on the hospital bed.

My photo was knocked down the day before mothers day this year when i was upset.

I think i have seen a ghost 5 years ago, and ran scared. It was close and coming closer, the hairs on my neck were rigid. I was petrified and i believe it was very evil. I later found out from my freind who lived there, that there is a well known ghost there. I didnt know this first, and was on my own when i saw (and heard) it.

These are my personal experiences. Im not so quick to dismiss what i dont know, thats all i can say right now.

11:52 pm  
Blogger British National Party member said...

Common sense wrote;

"(be they Wahabii, Sufi, Evangelical, Buddhist extremist)"

Surely, thats just an off the cuff remark right? i have never heard of a buddhist extremist!

11:55 pm  
Blogger British National Party member said...

TFI wrote;

"Its true, I don't judge them to their face. I'll always have a wry smile when they are talking about the supernatural, miracles, the voice of God and all that other nonsense."

Well, i give you 100% permission to judge what i wrote above. :)

11:59 pm  
Blogger DaveA said...

"These are my personal experiences. Im not so quick to dismiss what i dont know, thats all i can say right now. "

Why not dismiss it quickly if you already feel your life has significance. Why diminish yourself by forcing yourself to be irrational when it's not in you.

11:01 am  
Blogger TheFriendlyInfidel said...

Well, i give you 100% permission to judge what i wrote above. :)

I think what you wrote was very sweet, but I'll keep my opinons regarding divide intervention to myself. If you start demanding that I take notice of your belief in divide intervention, I'll rip the micky.

Out of interest, how would you feel about the BNP opening its doors to "non-whites"? I've quite a lot of "coloured" friends that are terribly nationalist and worry about uncontrolled immigration.

Cheers,

TFI

11:03 am  
Blogger Common Sense said...

Percy:

Hope you had a good time in Paris:

If anything, THIS is what "March for Free Expression" should be about.

I don't think the march should be about conducting a debate. No debate should be required to defend the elemental right of the individual to express himself.

Those who attack this freedom should be dealt with on an individual basis- based on their particular idealogical leanings.

If it's an Izzy who tries to subvert the march by creating a farcicle movement called "Global Civility"- you know, the movement whereby it would not be OK to call a homosexual a "dirty diseased fag", but quite OK to be a proponent of dropping a wall on him- then you call him on that... and you don't lose focus.

But remember MfFE is not about Izzy or Islam. It's about Irving's right to question the holocaust too. Or for people to publish anti-semitic propaganda. It's about Sacranie's right to say that homosexuals spread disease. Or for the white supremacist to say that genetically, black people are built more stupid.

Your right to call Muhammad a terrorist should never be compromised- even if your statement is slanderous and false. It is up to Izzy to demonstrate the opposite. And for you to defend your position.


MfFE cannot set rules and guidelines for how to debate. That is up to the individual. And the individual needs to see through the cloud and understand the intentions of the people they are talking to, and where they are coming from.

3:16 pm  
Blogger DaveA said...

"But remember MfFE is not about Izzy or Islam. It's about Irving's right to question the holocaust too. Or for people to publish anti-semitic propaganda. It's about Sacranie's right to say that homosexuals spread disease. Or for the white supremacist to say that genetically, black people are built more stupid. "

Well, actually, we're having a big debate about whether it does allow those things. We agree that incitement to violence is out (don't we?) so we agree there are limits. It's easy to say there are none as it makes it a simple argument. I prefer to say that freedom of speech is the freedom to say anything you like about beliefs, ideas, ideologies, politics, art, whether or not something is a fact etc etc, but not about the basic features which people are born with, such as skin colour or sexual orientation.

So Sacranie would be allowed to say what he does about homosexuality if it's a fact and he can back it up, but if not, it's no different to incitement to racial hatred or violence.

I realise this might be too big a limit for some, and I'm prepared to be convinced otherwise, but how else do we allow freedom of speech while protecting the rights of those based on skin colour or sexual orientation - i.e. who you are, not what you say. It seems like a fairly clear line to me.

4:55 pm  
Blogger Common Sense said...

Well, actually, we're having a big debate about whether it does allow those things. We agree that incitement to violence is out (don't we?) so we agree there are limits.


I suppose that would depend on what you mean by "incitement". Suppose, for example, that you subscribe to Said's Orientalism theory... that academic studies and type-casting of the ME facilitates colonization... then would you say that the works of Bernard Lewis are an "incitement to violence".


What if you believe that abortion is wrong, and are vocal about it. And an extremist goes and knocks off a couple of abortion doctors. Is the public expression of your stance an "incitement to violence".


When Izzy, or Qaradawi says that Divine law says that you ought to drop walls on homosexuals. Is that an "incitement to violence".



All these examples are factual. The Bush war machine depends, amongst other things, the scholastic backing a Fouad Ajami, or Bernard Lewis, or Paul Wolfowicz gives it.

The murderer of the abortion doctors required being inculcated with a strong sense of Righteousness to go ahead with his deed.

And should Izzy ever live to see England run by the Kind laws of Sharia, he won't be standing in the way of the executioners only too ready to pelt a homosexual with stones.

So where does one draw the limit?
















It's easy to say there are none as it makes it a simple argument.

... and I think most self-consistent.




I prefer to say that freedom of speech is the freedom to say anything you like about beliefs, ideas, ideologies, politics, art,


I gave you examples above about Oriental studies. Take the arts, what if you're the Grand Mufti of Azhar and you say sculpting is one of the greatest evils?

Is that OK?



whether or not something is a fact etc etc, but not about the basic features which people are born with, such as skin colour or sexual orientation.

There are some people who argue that they are not born with a sexual orientation. Some (ex) gay people too!











So Sacranie would be allowed to say what he does about homosexuality if it's a fact and he can back it up, but if not, it's no different to incitement to racial hatred or violence.

Fact? That's a strong word. What is fact? Is the higher incidence of HIV spread amongst gay men a fact? Or is it the promiscuous lifestyle of (some) gay men? Either way, does any of this discussion encourage homophobia?

How about more "Facts": All those who were responsible for 9/11 are Arabs. (Most) of those responsible for 7/7 were South Asian. Can one say those facts? What if those facts encourage policies like racial profiling?

















I realise this might be too big a limit for some, and I'm prepared to be convinced otherwise, but how else do we allow freedom of speech while protecting the rights of those based on skin colour or sexual orientation - i.e. who you are, not what you say. It seems like a fairly clear line to me.

We have to rely on the good and common sense of people. And the power of argument. When the Izzys of this world find themselves in a moral vacuum, the depravity of their ideas lose their potency.

6:19 pm  
Blogger British National Party member said...

Davea wrote;
"but not about the basic features which people are born with, such as skin colour or sexual orientation."

People are born with paedophilia. The only thing that is legitimate to be outlawed is direct instruction to violence, and thats if anything should be outlawed. I think anything else relies on judgment, not absolutes. You judge people shouldnt be able to be criticised for putting their penis in peoples bottoms, thus spreading diseases like wildfire; i disagree. Its freedom of speech that allows us to disagree.

9:13 pm  
Blogger British National Party member said...

Davea wrote;

"Why not dismiss it quickly if you already feel your life has significance. Why diminish yourself by forcing yourself to be irrational when it's not in you."

I dont believe i am being irrational. I cant disprove God, nor that these things were intentionaly influenced as opposed to chance. Infact, i think i would be being irrational to dismiss it as chance or to claim it is definately an outside force. I just dont know. As you cant disprove a negative, i will either never know, or have come to find God!

9:17 pm  
Blogger British National Party member said...

TFI wrote;

"I think what you wrote was very sweet, but I'll keep my opinons regarding divide intervention to myself. If you start demanding that I take notice of your belief in divide intervention, I'll rip the micky."

*********

Ok... but remember, i said i dont know, not that thats what it is. Its odd, but i cant prove its anymore than chance that i have strung together to make a coherent string after the fact. I dont want to believe that is so, but i also cant make myself truly believe something just because its a nice idea. Like multiculturalism :)

TFI also wrote;

"Out of interest, how would you feel about the BNP opening its doors to "non-whites"? I've quite a lot of "coloured" friends that are terribly nationalist and worry about uncontrolled immigration."

Well, im not the BNP, just a member. But if i could remove the feeling of being forced to accept them, id be much more open to it. We talked about this on the forums, and some members were saying along the lines of, if we let colourd's in, where on earth could the indiginous members go to just be amongst their own? which i do indeed sympathise with.

I think the 1/4 armenian Christian standing is a brilliant thing for the BNP, but its an extraordinarily delicate subject in some quarters. Id like to say that all members are willing to accept people who have fully integrated and assimilated into the party, but that just isnt so yet.

I got some e-mails of support for my position from fellow members, but these things take time.

Actually, on second thoughts... we have Jewish councilors and members, so who knows.

You might be interested in these news stories;

http://www.bucksfreepress.co.uk/news/community/display.var.735507.0.bnp_gets_my_vote_believe_it_or_not.php

Thats about an indian voting for the BNP, and this is a brave sikh interviewed on BNPtv, who's dad was slaughtered by you-know-who amongst tens of thousands of other indians when pakistan seperated.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5313967073906592014

Its 50 megs, and that should start downloading. If not, go here and scroll down.

http://www.bnp.org.uk/bnptv/bnptv.php

9:33 pm  
Blogger DaveA said...

"We have to rely on the good and common sense of people. And the power of argument."

Some good points. I take your point about 'factual'. While truth could be debated ad nauseum we do accept many things as being true in order to have a worldview. The problem is, if we have to rely on common sense then we're back to square one aren't we? We'll have millions saying that the cartoons were neither good nor common sense and from their point of view they'll be right.

Perhaps you could define in a couple of paragraphs where the lines lie for you, and what you see us fighting for here. I do think it's crucially important for most supporters of this to be clear about the lines, as if we don't get that right our arguments will disappear in a flood of negative comments about what we stand for.

10:42 am  
Blogger DaveA said...

"I dont believe i am being irrational"

You're missing the point. You said that you're not so quick to dismiss what you don't know, implying that we shouldn't be either. I merely pointed out that for people who don't feel a need for this in their lives it's entirely understandable to quickly dismiss it and carry on with life. It's not about being closed minded, just a feeling that the proof isn't going to pop up on the six o'clock news...

10:48 am  
Blogger Common Sense said...

Dave:

I don't disagree with your characterization. I was just pointing out the weakness of the "incitement to violence" argument.

But you can do that with almost anything. Take democracy; What if the majority elect to abolish democracy.


Any argument can be made circular in this way, and quite easily at that.

There should be focus on certain things, and on this, I agree with you. When something is accepted on faith, and threatens free expression, then the faith opens itself up for criticism (that's why I disagree that publishing the Cartoons is non-common-sensical). If a political party does the same, it opens itself for criticism, and proponents fo FE should be merciless in their implementation of this core value.

Don't get tongue-twisted during an argument. Learn to raise the stakes. If you're a proponent of gay rights, and an Izzy argues that out of "Global Civility", people should self-censor criticism of Muhammad, then you say, out of "Global Civility", Imams should self-censor and not criticize homosexuality. If a Muslim says a book critical of Muhammad should be banned, you say, the Koran should be banned. When all the layers of lies, hypocrisy, double-speak are peeled off, a hater , and a whatever-phobe is revealed as they truly are.

Sometimes, you cannot and should not have to rationalize your position. As an Arab, if I say something negative about the Arab world, could that be taken out of context and feed the hatred of racists against Arabs. Yes, of course it can. By the same token, does the everyday converstion amongst Muslims on the licentiousness of the Western world and its moral depravity feed hatred amongst the conservative Muslims against the West- of course it can.

You have to sit on one side of the fence or the other. You must assume a position, and defend that position. The Western world, which has opened up the taps of immigration, and which allows people to freely practice their faith, and gives them social and political rights, is a far better model than that which exists in SA or Iran or well, many other parts of the world. The cornerstone of this model has been Free Speech.

All I'm saying is: Don't compromise on it.

3:54 pm  
Blogger Common Sense said...

PS.

I think you should criminalize some speech like:

"Kill all the Jews/Blacks/Whites/Agnostics/Muslims"...

3:58 pm  
Blogger DaveA said...

Good. So, I think you're agreeing with me that publishing the cartoons was fine ;-)

I don't tend to get bogged down in the sort of twisted argument that's been on these threads. I hope I haven't come across as a compromiser, because I'm anything but on this issue. What I'm trying to do is anticipate where where the problems are going to arise. I need to have straight in my head where the lines lie in order to be able to properly carry the message to anyone else.

At the march, I heard a load of speakers who couldn't agree where the boundaries of free speech are. I do think there are a lot of clever people involved in this, and I do think that coming up with a statement of exactly what we mean by free speech. What is included and what, if anything, is excluded. This doesn't need to take into account any views of our opponents, since we're talking about what should be universal values - we can discuss these things rationally.

Now, I'm still not quite sure where you draw the lines. Do you believe that all speech should be free, or that there are limits, and if so, what are those limits.

4:41 pm  
Blogger Common Sense said...

Sometimes, I don't express myself well. My answer was wrapped in that PS. note.

When there is a direct order or implicit order to commit violence, and not an amorphous term like "incite". That's a definitive line.

5:17 pm  
Blogger DaveA said...

Actually my fault - I wrote mine over a while and when I posted I saw your PS.

So, you're OK with "blacks are evil and dangerous and they spread far more disease than white people" as it's only incitement. Even though we know the person saying it has no facts to back it up, and only one agenda. (I know that can be debated - we're speaking common-sensibly)

11:16 am  
Blogger Common Sense said...

Yes. I'm OK with it.

Because you can't force people not to be racist. You can only try to make it un-fashionable.

12:21 pm  
Blogger British National Party member said...

Davea wrote;

"blacks are evil and dangerous and they spread far more disease than white people"

You know Dave, its unethical to put something in speech marks, when it hasnt actually been said by the person. Its called a "straw man" and is the bastion of political correctness.

Nevertheless, as your putting it forward as an argument, how fair would it be for me to say to you now, ok, youve said it isnt true; what facts do you have to back it up? I'll let you off evil because thats an emotive word and i suspect cant be "proved" about any group.

No, All you have to do now, is show us that blacks are no more dangerous than whites, and that they have less disease amongst their populations. I would also add that you will have to find a black country to do a true comparison, however ill allow you to use British statistics as the zulu's arnt well known for their book keeping.

You've said it, but do you have the facts to back it up.

6:52 pm  
Blogger DaveA said...

Actually, what's really unethical is what you've done. You've attributed something to me which I had clearly made up as a hypothetical statement. You know I don't think that, but you haven't made that clear. Furthermore, no one said this - it was made up. That should have been obvious.

As to your 'proof' - I'm not going to spend much time on it, because stats will show anything. There's no point in comparing people from different social backgrounds, as what I was clearly meaning was 'inherently' and not 'in practice'. Suffice to say, that if you went around the world, comparing like and like (two lawyers, two barmen etc etc) you'd find there's no inherent difference. I don't expect you to agree with that, and I don't really care.

9:30 am  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home