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Donnie Darko
After reading this article and watching the incredibly disturbing video, I would be proud to call myself an Islamophobe:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/jul…ren-british-law

We're talking about religiously sanctioned torture of children here. And it's a form of torture that lasts a lifetime, robbing a female of sexual pleasure. I find it hard to imagine many worse things to do to someone. People are rightfully upset about catholic priests raping boys and the coverup that occurs, but this torture is in my opinion even worse and is openly condoned. Abu Ghraib rightly outraged the world, but then doing something even worse to innocent children in the name of religion escapes legal action? This is insanity.

If moderate Islam wants to gain my respect, it needs to demand legal prosecution of this torture of children. Otherwise it's just a disgusting enabler.
Aggelos
* Sighs heavily * First of all, believe me, I am strongly against such practices, and share your disgust for people doing it.

Now. Islamophobia ? Hate for one of the most beautiful religions out there ? I do hope someone from a protestant country will understand the following : it's never written in the Qur'an that FGM should be practised. It's a dogma, something phalophores have put over the religious law.
What the Qur'an actually says is that women must be treated like precious diamonds. All of this veil, burka, excision crap is not what Islam should be.

Same topic : you should watch this movie : http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1054580/
eric
I do not hate anyone.
All Religion Sucks.
Especially Religious People.

G&C
Religion is the root of all evil.
Jaded Prole
QUOTE
After reading this article and watching the incredibly disturbing video, I would be proud to call myself an Islamophobe:


You have been an Islamophobe for a long time, the article only reinforces it.

I agree with Eric. Hate hurts the hater and religion in general sucks. Anything that limits our range of thought or experience is harmful to a full life whether physically via genital mutilation or psychologically via dietary rules, religious prohibitions and prejudices or the limiting of thought and ideas.
Aggelos
The general opinion on religion is much like the general opinion on absinthe : it's a drug numbing your mind and puting you in the state of a larva.

Religion as I see it is quite like absinthe as I see it : let the hype go, let haters hate, don't use it as a scaffold, an excuse or an explanation.

Take the best of the experience to enrich your life, and keep an open mind. If it pulls you under, you're not ready for it.

edit : last part not needed in public
Kirk
I don't hate them, I just wish they all had cable TV and the internet instead of piped in sunlight.
Tibro
Religion is a human invention. A tool. Like any tool how you apply it makes all the difference. It can be a boon or a bane.
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(Aggelos @ Jul 26 2010, 08:44 AM) *

* Sighs heavily * First of all, believe me, I am strongly against such practices, and share your disgust for people doing it.

Now. Islamophobia ?…
What the Qur'an actually says is that women must be treated like precious diamonds. All of this veil, burka, excision crap is not what Islam should be.


If moderate Islam can eventually make obsolete the fundamentalist branch of their faith, then I will be very happy. To be honest I'm more of a religious-phobe than only an "Islamophobe". Some people mistakenly equate that with bigotry, but I don't see how disagreeing with an ideology and the clearly immoral and sometimes criminal practices it endorses, covers up or makes excuses for could possibly be bigoted. The fact that moderates who are pushing for the reform and reinterpretation of Islam risk their lives by doing so says a lot more about problems within Islam than problems with my attitude. Combine that with the fact that the #1 killer of Muslims are other Muslims, and it's pretty clear that fingers need to be pointed at someone other than me. I think it is also very revealing that female genital mutilation has gone unprosecuted in the UK, as people seem to be more scared of being labeled an "Islamophobe" than they are repulsed by the torturing of female children in the name of religion. Those priorities are upside down, not mine. Also note that while us whitey euro-people may say "that's not what Islam is really like", there are a quite a lot of devout Muslims who would disagree with you. Who is more qualified to define what Islam is, us or them? A prime example is the very nice young man my cousin nearly married. He is a very friendly neurosurgeon who is a moderate muslim, but in order to marry my cousin he required her to quit her job and become subservient to his family agenda.
She broke it off with him because she believes women are equal. And he is a "moderate" muslim. Is that "beautiful"? He's actually a good person but holds misogynistic views because his religion tells him to do so.

I totally agree though that the Qur'an does not endorse a lot of the behavior common within fundamentalist Islam, though it's kind of hard to get around that "kill the infidel" stuff and other injunctions to commit violence on behalf of their faith which are there in plain type. That being said, the Old Testament is also rife with endorsements of hideously immoral behavior, so the Islamic holy text is not alone in advocacy of vile actions. The difference is that re-interpretation and reform is allowed within Christianity, whereas Islam appears to be a few centuries behind on that front. I do greatly respect those who are trying to initiate those reforms though, and wish them success.

While religion can be an impetus for good deeds, it is not necessary for good deeds, and I would not like to meet the person who would rape and kill if only it weren't for religion holding them back. But hey, if it works for some people, then I'm all in favor for letting them cling to some celestial Santa Claus as long as they're in favor of me being able to disagree politely with them. And I don't hate the people, in fact I feel quite a lot of sympathy for them, but I do hate the immoral acts that many religions condone.
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(Aggelos @ Jul 26 2010, 08:44 AM) *

Same topic : you should watch this movie : http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1054580/


Thanks for that, I will try and watch it. Her story sounds similar to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who escaped Somalia after being genitally mutilated and who now has to live under armed guard 24-7 because she has spoken out against Islam.
sixela
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Jul 26 2010, 06:43 PM) *

being genitally mutilated


Unfortunately for African women this has, in fact, little to do with Islam even though it was co-opted. It's a savage ritual that still exists even in "Christian" (note apologetic quotes) and animistic populations over there.
Donnie Darko
Why then is it also popular in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and northern Iraq? In those countries they do not always remove the clitoris, but they still alter the labia in an excruciatingly painful way, which can cause all sorts of problems with menstruation. It's still torture.

It is also correct that it is not Islamic in origin and that it is not practiced only by Muslims. While it is outlawed in many Muslim states, however, it is rarely prosecuted. By contrast, if one is a Muslim woman, they may face prosecution for violating all sorts of pithy misogynistic laws. Examples of such violations would be talking to a man outside the home who is not a relative, driving a car without written permission of a man, or being executed if a man accuses the woman of adultery without evidence.

The Qu'ran does say "women must be treated like precious diamonds", but unfortunately the religion was created by and for misogynists and is still largely run by misogynists, so while the Qu'ran may have beautiful parts, and I particularly admire how generosity and honestly are strongly advocated in Muslim culture, the treatment of women within the faith is still repugnant and worthy of scorn.
Jaded Prole
QUOTE
unfortunately the religion was created by and for misogynists

True of many religions but especially the Abramic ones. Unfortunately trying to impose our values on other cultures only creates resentment and resistance. The best way to get rid of misogynist and barbaric practices is through fostering education.
Donnie Darko
The problem is education has a very hard time infiltrating fundamentalist societies. That problem is easily observed right here with Christian extremist desires for home school or church school in order to shield children from learning science or any liberal philosophy.

I think the best place to start is for those who write and enforce laws in societies with immigrant/native populations that are fundamentalists to realize that religious tolerance does not trump equal rights under the law. Persecuting mothers who bring their daughters to Africa to be tortured because of some tradition, whether it be religious or otherwise, is a human rights issue. I think too often the west is quick to excuse or tolerate women's rights violations and human rights violations in the name of respecting "cultural" differences, and this failure to prosecute anyone for female genital mutilation in the UK is a shining example of that failure.

sixela
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Jul 28 2010, 01:52 PM) *

The Qu'ran does say "women must be treated like precious diamonds", but unfortunately the religion was created by and for misogynists


That's not exactly a fair depiction. It was created *in* a fairly misogynist society and was substantially less misygonist than the society in question, though it failed to rise above it entirely.

Of course whatever that faith morphed into and how it embeds itself in societies today is another matter.

QUOTE
and is still largely run by misogynists,

Uhm -- so is the Catholic Church, but that has more to do with the institution than the core of its religious beliefs.
Jaded Prole
The Hasidic Jews in my neighborhood are pretty repressive of women too and they, like all Jews practice genital mutilation of males.
I'm scarred for life! (Nipped in the bud as it were.)
hobgoblin
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Jul 26 2010, 06:28 PM) *
I think it is also very revealing that female genital mutilation has gone unprosecuted in the UK, as people seem to be more scared of being labeled an "Islamophobe"


Living here, it doesn't surprise me. The record here on dealing with forced marriages etc. is also pretty dismal. Its not however a case of individuals not wanting to be labelled as "Islamaphobe", its more a case of a multi-cultural mind-set that has slowly and steadily grown amongst the liberal political classes and the media, championed by Tony Blair and 'New-Labour', the Liberal Party and certain Conservative politicians who want 'ethnic' votes. The desire to be all embracing of other cultures, view all ethnic cultures as being desirable and positive, and avoid offending cultural sensitivities, to the point of blindness to undesirable aspects of other cultures. This view is not shared by much of the British public.
Kirk
Who are the evil bastards that cut the tip of my dick off? How would you like to see an invading army waving that bloody rag? People change by comparing notes.
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(Jaded Prole @ Jul 29 2010, 06:27 AM) *

The Hasidic Jews in my neighborhood are pretty repressive of women too and they, like all Jews practice genital mutilation of males.
I'm scarred for life! (Nipped in the bud as it were.)


There are a lot of Hasidic and Orthodox in my neighborhood too. I think shaving your head and wearing a wig and being made into being a baby vending machine is pretty equivalent to wearing a Burkha. Judaism hasn't had a prominent homicide-cult sect of their religion in many centuries, unlike Islam, but the misogyny is ever-present. The hospital I volunteer at has a large Hasidic clientele, and I've seen first hand how the women are treated like inconvenient possessions, even if they are gravely ill or giving birth. The misogyny seen in religions of course originated as part of a pre-existing cultural phenomenon, as Sixela correctly pointed out, and such discrimination existed among primate societies before human beings ever evolved. However, I think what is more important to point out is how religions have stubbornly maintained this offensive policy of misogyny in spite of the secular world moving beyond it in many ways.

As for male circumcision, I have a hard time comparing it to female genital mutilation because it doesn't reduce sexual pleasure nearly as dramatically, has some (debatable) hygiene value, is done at a time when any recollection of the pain would be virtually impossible thus minimizing psychological trauma, and it does not lead to health risk and pain down the road. I still don't LIKE the idea, and the orthodox ritual of the Bris is in my opinion perverse, but I think on the scale of torture and lasting oppression it pales in comparison to FGM. FGM is worse than rape.
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(hobgoblin @ Jul 29 2010, 08:50 AM) *

The desire to be all embracing of other cultures, view all ethnic cultures as being desirable and positive, and avoid offending cultural sensitivities, to the point of blindness to undesirable aspects of other cultures. This view is not shared by much of the British public.


You bring up an interesting and well-made point. I'm the first person to extol the virtues of a multi-cultural society. I think encountering differing cultures and avoiding isolationism is a wonderful educational experience and is good for society. When issues of human rights are not at stake, I would never dream of telling another culture how to behave. I was recently reading a book detailing life in the Masai tribe in Kenya, and some of the tribesmen were given shoes by some westerners, and the tribesmen wore them tied with ropes around their naked waists, using them as "pockets". While that seems funny and crazy to me, I respect their right to reject modern society and to do things their way. I would call that tolerating and embracing cultural differences, a good thing.

However, at the same time, every female in the Masai tribe has undergone Female Genital Mutilation, and of course forced marriage is the only kind of marriage. This then becomes a real quagmire, as to be culturally respectful in this instance, you must disrespect what you regard to be human rights. Whether it is killing people for being gay, imprisoning people for merely thinking differently, torturing and mutilating women, or preventing women from having any choice in who they mate with, I have a zero tolerance policy. It cannot simultaneously be OK to treat women as property because they live in one place on a map while abhorring the idea if it happens in another place on the map. I'm not proposing invading Kenya to stop the practice of FGM, but I do think we should be far less "respectful" of such abuse and should vocally criticize it, as this can only promote consciousness raising, and it is consciousness raising that motivates populations towards human rights progress. And the law in Britain against FGM should be strictly enforced, as opposed to the current policy of zero enforcement. Tolerating human rights violations in the name of multiculturalism is the classic case of being so open minded that your brain has fallen out.
G&C
Any culture that shows no respect, deserves the same.
Donnie Darko
And most importantly, look at how hot she is:
IPB Image

What would happen to that beauty if Islamic radicals were to have their way?
Marc
IPB Image
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hobgoblin
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Jul 30 2010, 01:45 PM) *

You bring up an interesting and well-made point. I'm the first person to extol the virtues of a multi-cultural society. I think encountering differing cultures and avoiding isolationism is a wonderful educational experience and is good for society. When issues of human rights are not at stake, I would never dream of telling another culture how to behave.


The trouble is that while clearly female circumcision is clearly unacceptable, at what point do you draw the line and say what is and isn't acceptable? Someone earlier mentioned male circumcision, and while it is nowhere remotely close to female 'circumcision' in cruelty, but is it not child abuse to take a defenceless infant (who is not able to give consent) and cut a piece of their flesh off? Would we accept ear stretching of infants in the USA or UK? Why not? Do we bend the rules and allow particular cultures to do certain things that we would find unacceptable outside of a particular cultural framework? If we do, then where do we draw the line?

I believe that encountering different cultures is beneficial for us all and can foster understanding and tolerance of differences (however it can also foster too much tolerance, as is seen here in the UK regarding cultural human rights violations), but I do believe that a 'multi-cultural' society is not benefical (certainly not to the UK). A multi-ethnic society is great, but the promoted culture should be the nation's existing culture (which can in time be influenced by incoming cultures). From where I sit, and I may be wrong, it seems that in the USA the American culture is very much promoted, incomers having to swear allegiance, then there is the 'American dream' etc. and you seem to accept others in with the proviso that they embrace your culture (at least thats how it looks to an outsider). However in the UK, incoming cultures are promoted as equal to (or probably better than) the existing British culture and exalted by the liberal elite and media, resulting in a society where 'British' culture is sneered at and frowned upon by those in politics, education and the media etc. This results in large sections of the white working-class, particularly males, feeling ignored and sneered at. And then the politicians scratch their heads and wonder why much of the working class doesn't bother to vote, and why the facists in the BNP make inroads in white working class areas. A multi-ethnic society is a good thing for society as a whole, a multi-cultural society is not (at least in the UK anyway). I seems to me that in many ways the USA has got it right where the UK has got it wrong on this issue.
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(hobgoblin @ Aug 1 2010, 04:50 PM) *

I do believe that a 'multi-cultural' society is not benefical (certainly not to the UK). A multi-ethnic society is great, but the promoted culture should be the nation's existing culture (which can in time be influenced by incoming cultures).


Why do you think a multi-cultural society is a bad idea? I hear a lot of people who seem to be upset about their own culture not being the dominant one, but I still can't figure out what they're afraid of. Unless one is going to lock up their borders, it seems virtually impossible to prevent the merging and evolution of cultures. When the non-local culture tries to usurp the laws of the "native" culture, as has happened with attempts to enforce Sharia law in the UK, then I can see how that would be bad, but that is a matter of disrespect for the law, which to me seems different than normal issues of cultural integration or lack thereof.

QUOTE
From where I sit, and I may be wrong, it seems that in the USA the American culture is very much promoted, incomers having to swear allegiance, then there is the 'American dream' etc. and you seem to accept others in with the proviso that they embrace your culture (at least thats how it looks to an outsider).


Unfortunately the US is such a ridiculously large country compared to the UK that it's not easy to compare the two, and there's always going to be immigrants mixing with different immigrants who are now more "American" but used to be the alien culture.

An interesting example is an area of the Bronx that is largely Italian but has over the last 10 years experienced a large influx of Mexican immigrants. Neither culture is "American", but Italian-American culture was the dominant one 10 years ago. Gradually the Mexicans got jobs in the Italian restaurants, worked their asses off, brought family members here, and now have opened up their own shops in which Spanish is the language usually spoken. The Mexicans now have sporting-goods stores, restaurants, lots of food carts. At first the Italians were pissed about it. How dare they take over our culture, we were here first, they said. They had a very "Italians only" attitude, as if it were some exclusive club, even though they themselves 50 years ago were the alien culture and Irish and German immigrants were the dominant culture in that part of the Bronx. But then the Italians realized how hard the Mexicans worked and what reliable employees they were. They also noticed the attendance at the local Catholic churches was increasing, and the churches even added Spanish masses, so the Catholics were actually thrilled that anybody at all was going to church given that attendance had been plummeting for years. And in 2006, when Mexico lost the world cup, every Mexican in the Italian section of the Bronx rooted for Italy to win, and when they did win, Mexicans ran through the street waving Italian flags. The Mexicans rooted for Italy because they lived among and worked for the Italians, and wanted to show solidarity with them.

From that anecdote, mixing cultures can be bumpy, but ultimately it seems harmless to me. In my apartment building in Queens, my one doorman is from Romania, another is from Mexico, another is from Hungary (his name is Attilla, I shit you not). On my floor, one guy is from Tanzania, another family is from Guyana, another guy is from Brooklyn, and there is a very friendly 85 year old German Holocaust survivor couple two doors down from me. And we all get along fine, mostly keep to ourselves and do things our own way, but it works. Nobody pushes the dominant native culture (perhaps that's because in NYC there really isn't any one native culture) on anybody else, and it seems to work fine to me.

Ultimately even "native" culture is difficult to quantify. Down south I saw a bigger divergence between the culture of poor whites who live in trailer parks and wealthy southern business owners/lawyers/doctors who live on golf courses than I did between middle-class whites and Indian and Mexican immigrants, and here in NYC I see a bigger cultural divergence between urban black and hispanic kids who live in Bushwick, Brooklyn and wealthy upper-East Side New Yorkers than I do between middle class New Yorkers and middle class Hispanic immigrants. I couldn't begin to be able to tell you which culture should conform to which other culture if I tried, so calls for "assimilation" seem pointless from where I'm standing.
Tibro
I lived in NYC for some years and found it to be one of the best multi-kultural environments that I've had the opportunity to experience. But NYC is unlike any other community in Amerika, according to my personal experience.

And now, for quite an extended period, I've been the outsider in another kulture. Here's the bottom line on what I've learned. Whatever I thought I was getting out of, assimilating, rejecting, embracing, having forced on me or whatever from/by/resultant to the immersion in a new kulture as an adult who made a choice to move from what was familiar to what wasn't, all that is a whole bunch of mental and emotional masturbation.

I was blind to the deep, significant and lasting kultural differences until I had children. I began raising my children according to certain kultural assumptions which were beyond my ability to see. The assumptions I was brought up with. The assumptions my wife was brought up with. And we grew up in different cities in different states. But we both held similar assumptions that we were passing on to our children. Assumptions, not the stuff we questioned and wrestled with. The things that are passed on without conscious awareness.

And then my children became old enough to enter school. They entered a domain beyond my control where the kultural assumptions did not always match my own. Most of them really trivial. But also significantly different. Really foreign. Not like, "Oh, they have kind of a unique way of doing that." More like, "Huh? What? I can't fathom why they need to do that." Some are just the kind of thing that everybody does the same way but nobody knows why - it's the just the way you do it. Or more precisely, it's just the way we do it.

In fact, it's precisely the kind of things that you never even notice that we all do the same way. Until someone does it differently. And if it's an adult you give them the leeway to do it differently. Overlook it. Focus on the more important things. But those little things are the important things when you enter school. We don't enter school as intellectuals.

Enkulturation happens within the institutions of a kulture. Public school (Amerikan sense) is the first place where the family gives over control to a more communal sense of how things are done. There may be variations, but the theme is familiar. The teachers went to schools where it was done this way, more-or-less - within certain kultural parameters that define and keep the society more-or-less coherent. You can't buck it. It's institutionalized. And most of it you just wouldn't even think to question.

But if you're from outside that society certain of those differences are really going to throw you for a loop. You have one assumption and the native kultural has another. As an adult it may not come into your consciousness because you intellectualize and compromise and deal with these differences on a different level. But school, school is where conformity to the norms and practices is not only expected, it's enforced and graded. Questioning authority in the first years of school will earn you labels that are not going to help your academic achievement in years to come.

If subkultures, different ethnic enclaves are allowed to by-pass the public school system of the native kulture then they will de-facto be allowed to by-pass enkulturation into the ways of the surrounding society. The glue is formed very, very early. We want there to be behavioral assumptions that we don't have to ever think about. And it doesn't mean our institutions are striving to create mono-kultures, just as long as there's a sticky fundament, enough for society to cohere without too much disruption.
hobgoblin
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Aug 2 2010, 01:54 PM) *

Why do you think a multi-cultural society is a bad idea? I hear a lot of people who seem to be upset about their own culture not being the dominant one, but I still can't figure out what they're afraid of. Unless one is going to lock up their borders, it seems virtually impossible to prevent the merging and evolution of cultures.


Nothing wrong with cultures naturally merging and evolving. Britain has been a melting pot for millennia and this evolution has resulted in our culture. However what we have today is a situation where the cultures of incoming people are actively promoted as being of more value and worth than the existing British culture. There is no expectation on incoming people to eventually view themselves as British, the flying of British flags is frowned upon and sneered at by those in politics, education etc., whereas flags and expressions of other cultures are encouraged; British history is viewed by liberal politicians as being of little worth. In this drive for a 'multi-cultural' society, British culture is actively denegrated as it is seen that to have a British culture (even one that has been influenced by and evolved from other cultures) would run counter to having many cultures rather than a predominant culture. This in a country which is, by ethnic origin, 86% white British, with the next largest ethnicity (apart from white other at 5%) being Indian at 2% (and other ethnicities at lower percentages) so is it right that the culture of the vast majority of the population be treated with contempt in order to actively promote the cultures of peoples that make up very small minorities?

A multi-ethnic society is fine, and people should of course be able to carry on with their own cultural practices (so long as they remain within the laws of the land, with no exceptions or leaway permitted). If these cultures then influence the existing culture and culture naturally evolves as a result, then that's fine, but when incoming cultures are given preferential treatment and promoted while the existing culture is denegrated and sneered at, in an attempt to create a multi-cultural model for society, then that is not good. It alienates large sections of the majority in an attempt to promote minorities.
Tibro
An 86% majority has rolled over and sold the farm without a fight? Fuckin' Brits. And yet you managed to carry on armed conflict for generations in Northern Ireland, where the cultural difference is, in the larger scheme of things, rather small.
hobgoblin
QUOTE(Tibro @ Aug 2 2010, 11:27 PM) *

An 86% majority has rolled over and sold the farm without a fight? Fuckin' Brits.
So what do you suggest then? Armed revolt against the state? When was the last time that happened in, for example, the USA (despite all the privately owned guns)?
QUOTE(Tibro @ Aug 2 2010, 11:27 PM) *
And yet you managed to carry on armed conflict for generations in Northern Ireland, where the cultural difference is, in the larger scheme of things, rather small.
It doesn't help resolve a conflict when your supposed ally (the USA) is stabbing you in the back by by supplying funds to those who wish to, and are doing a prettty good job at killing you. Still perhaps all the innocent blood on the streets of Belfast was worth those Irish-American votes for your politicians?

Tibro
An 86% majority that complains en masse about the social situation yet doesn't use their electoral might against the political leadership legislating that situation is getting what they deserve. Stop complaining.

And the conflict in Northern Ireland was not caused or sustained by the US. Nor was the back-stabbing only about Irish-American votes. Arms manufacturers lobby for markets, too, to be perfectly cynical. And don't forget the US was also instrumental in forging a political compromise.

Maybe you want the US to step in and tell you what to do with your Sharia-law-demanding Muslims. I'm sure it wouldn't take much to solicit some opinions.
Jaded Prole
QUOTE
This in a country which is, by ethnic origin, 86% white British, with the next largest ethnicity (apart from white other at 5%) being Indian at 2% (and other ethnicities at lower percentages) so is it right that the culture of the vast majority of the population be treated with contempt in order to actively promote the cultures of peoples that make up very small minorities?


You British conquered and colonized much of the world in the 18th and 19th century and ruled those places brutally. That your own culture is affected as the once colonized and others come to England is the price of Empire. If anything, the cuisine has improved for their presence.
grey boy
I don't know,
Steak & Kidney pie washed down with a well-cellared cask ale is pretty damn delicious.
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(hobgoblin @ Aug 2 2010, 04:07 PM) *

However what we have today is a situation where the cultures of incoming people are actively promoted as being of more value and worth than the existing British culture. In this drive for a 'multi-cultural' society, British culture is actively denegrated as it is seen that to have a British culture (even one that has been influenced by and evolved from other cultures) would run counter to having many cultures rather than a predominant culture.


I see where the incongruity is coming from. In terms of what you are discussing, you have no qualms about the mixing of cultures and even non-native cultures not "assimilating" (god I hate that word). You instead have qualms with non-natives demonstrating real contempt for the very place that they chose to live in over their native land, and who are themselves expressing a cultural imperialist attitude. It's reasonable to be bothered by the fact that native history is swept under the rug in favor of some revisionist narrative that gives too much weight to tiny recent fractions of the population. I think your argument is absolutely legitimate. There is not too much of that phenomenon from recent immigrants here in the US.

Don't get me wrong, xenophobes like that asshole Lou Dobbs and Tea Party clowns certainly make it sound like that phenomenon of the disrespectful invader is rampant, with constant hysterical reports about how non-natives are somehow threatening the very essence of "Americanism" (funny how these American "Patriots" don't know what it says on the Statue of Liberty) as if these "other" people were not people but instead were pesky cockroaches. But anybody who is not of that persuasion and who has worked one day of their life in a restaurant kitchen or any other not-so-visible hard labor job knows better. They will tell you that the essence of Americanism is that, for better or for worse, there will always be underpaid abusive jobs available for those who are desperate, and that the reliance on desperate (or just plain ambitious) immigrants is what has built this country and is what keeps it running. They'll tell you that if those very hard working people want to retain some of their native culture then hey, more power to them.

The only vocal group in the US I can think of that has tried to repeatedly supplant the law by legislating their own version of culture are far right religious social conservatives, Sarah Palin being the latest cringe-inducing example. But I would expect nothing less from the people whose proud heritage is the ignorant Puritans who stumbled off the Mayflower unprepared, whose lives were saved by the real natives, and who then stole everything the real natives had while absurdly proclaiming themselves the new natives. That behavior, yes, was distinctly British, but at least the British had the sense to allow those nutters to exile themselves here. And then somehow it's all worked itself out into what I consider a decent country that, while it has its problems (some big, others just annoying), is none the less not a bad place to live.
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(Jaded Prole @ Aug 3 2010, 06:26 AM) *

You British conquered and colonized much of the world in the 18th and 19th century and ruled those places brutally. That your own culture is affected as the once colonized and others come to England is the price of Empire.


Past injustice does not justify contemporary cultural imperialism, though, regardless of who is carrying out the cultural imperialism. If we had a history of brutally dominating and oppressing Alaska, that wouldn't make Sarah Palin's desires to eliminate museum funding, slash scientific research and attempted legislation of ignorance, religion and discrimination any more acceptable.

QUOTE
If anything, the cuisine has improved for their presence.

I do love the occasional bangers & mash, fish & chips and steak & guinness pie, but if I ate that every day I'd drop dead. The UK should be thankful that people moved in who realized that you can cook food by means other than just boiling or frying it.
hobgoblin
QUOTE(Tibro @ Aug 3 2010, 08:47 AM) *

And the conflict in Northern Ireland was not caused or sustained by the US. Nor was the back-stabbing only about Irish-American votes. Arms manufacturers lobby for markets, too, to be perfectly cynical. And don't forget the US was also instrumental in forging a political compromise.


NORAID existed purely to raise funds for the IRA to buy arms to kill British soldiers and innocent civilians (including many children) in Britain and Northern Ireland. The fact that such an organisation was perfectly legal in the USA and collected quite openly, and with support of prominent politicians in the USA is tantamount to USA funding of terrorists.

Over 2,000 people were murdered by the IRA, with Libya and donations from the USA being the main funders of this murder.

How would you view the UK and politicians tolerating an organisation openly (and legally) raising funds to support terrorist blowing up and shooting thousands of American citizens in the USA? You would (quite rightly) expect us to, at the very least, ban the organisation raising the donations. It didn't happen with NORAID did it?

As for the USA helping in forge a political compromise, your input helped with bringing the IRA on board because, to be frank, they view the USA as their friend (which is hardly surprising considering all the cash you gave them for arms to keep the conflict going).
hobgoblin
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Aug 4 2010, 09:00 AM) *

I see where the incongruity is coming from. In terms of what you are discussing, you have no qualms about the mixing of cultures and even non-native cultures not "assimilating" (god I hate that word). You instead have qualms with non-natives demonstrating real contempt for the very place that they chose to live in over their native land, and who are themselves expressing a cultural imperialist attitude. It's reasonable to be bothered by the fact that native history is swept under the rug in favor of some revisionist narrative that gives too much weight to tiny recent fractions of the population. I think your argument is absolutely legitimate. There is not too much of that phenomenon from recent immigrants here in the US.


Its not even the contempt of the incomers for the existing British culture that upsets me most, its the contempt of the political establishment etc. for existing British culture.

As for Tibro saying that its our fault for not using the ballot box to change this. When all the main political parties on offer are singing from the same hymn sheet on this it doesn't exactly help matters. The likes of the facist BNP have gained a lot of support through the ballot box as a result. As much as I dislike the current situation I'm certainly not going to vote for the racist BNP, but they have picked up a lot of votes from white working-class voters and our mainstream politicians fail to see that they are responsible for this by their contempt for working-class British culture.
Tibro
QUOTE(hobgoblin @ Aug 4 2010, 03:50 PM) *

How would you view the UK and politicians tolerating an organisation openly (and legally) raising funds to support terrorist blowing up and shooting thousands of American citizens in the USA? You would (quite rightly) expect us to, at the very least, ban the organisation raising the donations. It didn't happen with NORAID did it?

I'm in complete agreement. The US gov't has a rich history of arming factions which is totally hypocritical to "The Amerikan Way".

But my intent was to point out that the Brits went to great lengths in their intolerance of cultural difference in Northern Ireland. They didn't just say that they could tolerate differences in the name of keeping those people content as UK citizens. Nor did the Brits bash themselves, as you say has become the institutional norm in England now. And the differences are smaller.

QUOTE(hobgoblin @ Aug 4 2010, 03:57 PM) *

When all the main political parties on offer are singing from the same hymn sheet on this it doesn't exactly help matters.

If I accept that this is actually the case then the important question is why? Why are large sections of the majority culture not being played to by the dominant parties? Are the tiny minorities the only ones that demand to be heard and carry the financial clout to capture their complete attention? You're saying there's a disconnect but I can't understand where this disconnect comes from.
Kirk
They have to look cool, spin doctors orders.
Tibro
Cool looking Brits, now there's a retro concept.
hobgoblin
QUOTE(Tibro @ Aug 4 2010, 06:05 PM) *

QUOTE(hobgoblin @ Aug 4 2010, 03:57 PM) *

When all the main political parties on offer are singing from the same hymn sheet on this it doesn't exactly help matters.

If I accept that this is actually the case then the important question is why? Why are large sections of the majority culture not being played to by the dominant parties? Are the tiny minorities the only ones that demand to be heard and carry the financial clout to capture their complete attention? You're saying there's a disconnect but I can't understand where this disconnect comes from.

There is certainly a disconnect. I think much of it is an ideological legacy left by Tony Blair. Blair quite openly showed disregard for anything that had gone before his arrival, Britains historical and cultural past was seen as irrelevant and worthless, all that mattered was the new future he was building for Britain. His vision of a multi-cultural society was one where there was not one predominiant British culture but many varied cultures all with equal weight and influence (despite the fact that these cultures represent very small minorities). He viewed existing British culture as backward looking, he looked down his nose at white working class voters, and embraced what he viewed as the more exotic cultures of many incomers.

Why did this work for Blair, despite it not reflecting the views of the bulk of the electorate? Britain had been a very traditional country in terms of its voting patterns, with the Labour Party being able to count on the electoral support of a large section of working class voters, and the fact that the previous Conservative government had left the country in a mess and was blighted with scandal and corruption in its last few months in office. Blair then blatantly went after middle-class, liberal, metropolitan voters, while showing contempt for core Labour voters (whom he rightly assumed would vote Labour anyway). David Cameron is in many ways trying to emulate Blair.

I suppose much of this is the fault of white working class voters who have let this happen, but we're now in a position where all 3 main political parties hold this view and the only alternatives for the electorate are the single-issue Green Party, the single-issue (anti-EU) UK Independence Party, the racist BNP and the odd independent candidate here and there. But that's democracy for you.
hobgoblin
QUOTE(Tibro @ Aug 4 2010, 06:05 PM) *

But my intent was to point out that the Brits went to great lengths in their intolerance of cultural difference in Northern Ireland. They didn't just say that they could tolerate differences in the name of keeping those people content as UK citizens.


It was not about keeping different cultures happy as British citizens. The point was that the IRA did not want to be British citizens and were fighting and killing with an aim to remove Britain and anything British from their culture and (as they viewed it) country. The conflict in Northern Ireland had nothing to do with the British not respecting cultural differences in Northern Ireland. Sure there was civil rights issues in the early 1960's, but the civil rights movement and the IRA were completely separate entities with very different agendas and aims. The IRA capitalised on civil rights discontent and took advantage of it to recruit disillusioned teenagers and young men.

The conflict in Northern Ireland was not about cultural differences, it was about a separatist organisation wanting to remove a section a country and make it part of another country (that didn't particularly want it anyway) and being prepared to kill and maim many people in order to achieve their aim.
Tibro
It was dawning on me as I posted that that I was fudging with the analogy. Yet the civil rights issues are there at the foundation.

I also appreciate what you're saying about national politics in Britain. But don't your local representatives take their constituents' grievances seriously? If it's all top down politics there needs to be more activism at the bottom. That's where the rubber meets the road, as it were. If politician X votes for initiative Y against the wishes of his constituency he gets dumped in the next election. Usually the others vying for the job look for issues like that to win the job for themselves by promising "hope and change" or something like that, not by sticking to the same line.
hobgoblin
QUOTE(Tibro @ Aug 5 2010, 10:24 AM) *

But don't your local representatives take their constituents' grievances seriously? If it's all top down politics there needs to be more activism at the bottom. That's where the rubber meets the road, as it were. If politician X votes for initiative Y against the wishes of his constituency he gets dumped in the next election. Usually the others vying for the job look for issues like that to win the job for themselves by promising "hope and change" or something like that, not by sticking to the same line.


But what if the alternative political party also votes for initiative Y?

Its not about what individual politicians or their constituents want anyway. The party whips ensure that the elected members of their parties vote in line with the wishes of the party leaderships. As politicians are careerists anyway, they all want to eventually be given a 'safe seat', so if a politician doesn't prove himself to be a loyal party apparch appartatchik he will never be given a safe seat, but left to struggle in a marginal seat meaning he will lose his seat when his party eventually lose an election. If a politician rebels too often then he gets deselected by his party at the next election anyway and doesn't even get to defend his seat.

The 2 major parties over here, Labour and Conservative, both maintain very tight central control over who gets selected to stand as their party's parliamentary candidates in constituencies. If you're not viewed as loyal and towing the party line then you won't become a parliamentary candidate. As to activism at the bottom? All party activists are viewed as being good for by their parties is stuffing leaflets in letter boxes at elections and selling the party line on doorsteps. Any political activism which doesn't slavishly tow the party line will rule out the activist (no matter how hard working or popular locally) from ever achieving anything more than perhaps being elected as a local government councillor.

Its not about individual politicians representing the views of their constituents when it comes to voting, its about individual politicians selling the views of their party hierarchy to their constituents, as the party whip will decide how politicians will vote anyway. That's democracy for you.
hobgoblin
Double post
Tibro
Sounds worse than Tammany Hall.
sixela
QUOTE(hobgoblin @ Aug 5 2010, 06:28 PM) *

But what if the alternative political party also votes for initiative Y?

If you only have "the" alternative party you have a fucked up electoral system. Mind you, the alternative can also have its drawbacks.
Donnie Darko
We have an alternative party. It's called The Tea Party. It's a party in which they don't actually have any serious elected candidates, dress up in goofy costumes, think a health care rally is a place where people should bring loaded automatic weapons, make excuses for racists, love oil companies but then blame the government if the oil companies do something wrong, hate everything about that same government in spite of desperately wanting to be part of it and holding it responsible for everything, and whose sort-of-leader is a delusional woman who pretends to know what she's talking about by belching out meaningless random word-soup.

So yeah, the alternative can have its drawbacks.

I personally think we should abolish all political parties permanently and just make the two highest vote getters in any senate or congressional race the chosen representatives. Political parties just confuse matters and create allegiances to "teams" rather than policy, and allegiance to party rhetoric trumps problem solving 95% of the time. It's just stupid and is a rather elementary school way to run a country that frankly is so large that it cannot be governed properly with a two-party system.
Donnie Darko
Is anybody else a little weirded out by the fact that a lot of people who have either never set foot in NYC or routinely ridicule NYC are making the proposed mosque and cultural center near the WTC site a national election issue? I think Islam is stupid, but am able to distinguish between Al-Qaeda and non-Jihadist Islam, unlike stupid individuals such as Sarah Palin. And while I think Islam is stupid, I also think the Constitution is smart, so it perplexes me that those who invoke the Constitution for any issue they can think of are now hijacking this issue as a reason to defy the Constitution's mandate that the government not mess with religion. These are the same "Constitutionalists" that want to unravel the 14th amendment to stop those dirty immigrant babies from having equal protections granted by the Constitution.

No government should be allowed to tell any religious person where they can practice their religion, and from what I have read, this Mosque would be teaching tolerance and a mild interpretation of the Koran that is very un-Taliban/Al-Qaeda, and could reduce the influence of Jihadism. So would we rather encourage and promote religious tolerance, or behave like those totalitarians we are lambasting, and use the excuse of someone's feelings being hurt as a reason to violate the Constitution and have the government wade in to say where religious facilities can be built? A lot of people not from New York and chickenshits like Harry Reid seem to prefer the latter method of wading into New York building zoning, because the word 9/11 is, repugnantly, a political town bike which desperate politicians everywhere want to mount.

It really amuses me that the Tea Party circus act, who squawk and squeal and squirm about all things "Big Government", are appearing to suddenly want an Orwellian government that forbids the building of a church.
Donnie Darko
I saw a video clip last night of these shrieking protesters at Ground Zero who started angrily chanting at this black guy wearing a skullcap who walked through the crowd. Not only was he NOT Muslim, but he's actually helping rebuild the site Al-Qaeda attacked. These ignorant assholes who pretend to be patriots should be shaking this man's hand, not screaming at him.

This whole "ground-zero mosque" hysteria has reached a level that makes me want to throw up.
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