to choose

Intensive Care Unit - by U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class Shane T. McCoy. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Writing about social issues isn’t the most fun thing in the world, but sometimes I just feel like clarifying ideas around what seem like lopsided topics.

“Abortion rights” were one of the sacred tenets of my youth, and I would still push for an intelligent application of these now (as for instance is needed in Northern Ireland, where women are denied recourse to termination of pregnancy, and suffer what I consider an appalling injustice).

The way these have been framed by some feminist abortion campaigners has been very unfortunate at times though, indeed somewhat desperate, beyond all common sense.

To my mind it is absurd to think that a fertilised egg is a “person” (though obviously it may become one eventually), or that a seven month old fetus is nothing but a redundant organ that the mother may do what she wants with, as if only one being were involved.

On the one side we have had (usually religious) protesters trying to prevent all terminations, and on the other have been radical feminists demanding that a fetus of any age should be legally abortable at the sole discretion of the mother, as if it were her absolute property, and did not in any way count as a human life. Sometimes it is pointed out that the fetus is entirely dependent upon the mother, and it is asserted that only the mother’s bodily autonomy needs to be morally considered.

Taken to their logical conclusions, the two positions would lead to every mother that unavoidably miscarries being charged with accidental manslaughter, or the parents of every new-born being able to kill their baby, thanks to its total dependence upon them.

There is I think, if you do not take the absolute position of every fertilised egg being a human life, a line to be drawn somewhere, after which the personhood of the fetus needs to be considered. Beyond a certain point a pregnant woman carrying a fetus cannot be said to be autonomous, anymore than a parent can be said to be independent of their child. It might not be nice if you don’t want it, it might be terrifying, but that’s how human life works. In general no one gets to walk away from their child without someone else taking care of it, not without consequences, and I have never met a mother who felt that their child, the person, didn’t exist before birth.

This is the glaring piece of dogma in feminist thinking on the subject, as often expressed. The need to, at all costs, deny the fetus any “rights” or personhood. And this is where the “pro-choice” argument runs out. Not in principle, if on the right side of a line (which may admittedly be to an extent arbitrary), but in absolutist assertion.

The radical feminist argument only sees a woman. Her autonomy. Her right to choose. The “pro-life” argument only sees the killing of a human person without consequence. When the former asks the latter how they can call themselves “pro-life” when they don’t care about the lives of the unwanted babies, they fail to see that what they are concerned with is preventing a killing, not quality of life. When the latter call doctors who perform abortions “murderers”, they fail to see the absurdity of everything after fertilisation being considered a person, and how this can alter some moral priorities.

Let’s switch to another scenario where there is an unconscious, entirely dependent life. Someone on life support in a coma. This person has no choice, and their selfhood is nascent (though might, under the right conditions, awaken). This person, who is unconscious, dependent, and in no way able to survive without the “umbilical cord” of artificial life support, has no choice. They may indeed be a burden on someone else’s autonomy. Does their lack of choice and consciousness deprive them of personhood? Does it absolve the carers of responsibility? Does it give them the right to choose against the unconsciously vulnerable? To transfer not just agency, but essential worth?

These are the sort of moral questions that abortion may raise. It is not just a question of “a woman’s right to choose”, unless you consider every fetus to be entirely null in terms of personhood.

A tiny person, in a coma, on biological life support. Or not.

I have no intention of telling anybody what they should judge on the issue, but to pretend that it isn’t an issue, a question, is facile and disingenuous. When we seek to erase or bury these questions, we ultimately make it more difficult to determine where the ethical “line” is, because we are denying the existence of the line at all, any shades of grey, any messy, lifelike, inconvenient detail.

That doesn’t help us attain moral maturity.

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the return of two party politics?

"earth quake time" by jmettraux (earth quake time) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Guess what? We had an election. And no one won.

Well, actually The Conservative Party won, but not by enough of a margin to form a government by themselves (but they can form one with a party that is agreeable to it, without forming an actual coalition*).

The Labour Party avoided total wipe out, and are treating that as a resounding victory, even though allying themselves with everyone else who might reciprocate would not give them enough seats to form a government combined.  They are even claiming that they are somehow entitled to form a government and unseat the Conservatives, because … well just because. But hey, the constitution is really just a bourgeois technicality to Marxist ambition, so it’s all good.

Meanwhile in Scotland the pro-independence SNP have lost some support, and the Conservatives have had a modest surge, but the totally different picture in Scotland just underlines that it is both a different country, and more complex than anybodies slogans.

It’s a mess for much of the UK, but people are saying this marks the return of a proper two party system, with a genuine opposition. I think what they mean is it marks the end of the technocratic, photogenic politics of smooth talking media actors that all look and sound the same, but that has been so since last year really (in potential). But the return of “two party politics” requires enough of the population to believe in both alternatives, rather than believing in neither.

It’s quite true that Theresa May conducted an awful campaign, while Jeremy Corbyn plugged into a youth vote that (sorry kids) hasn’t yet learnt what leftists come down to. You can’t blame them for swallowing the drivel, when the alternative is portraying itself as a “strong and stable” vampire, but it’s crap, and it really isn’t the shining dawn some people think, nor in fact does it change anything about the issue of Brexit, which is the most momentous issue that faces us, way beyond this decade.

That people opposed the bad policies of the Tories (and they have them) is a very reasonable thing. That people opposed the bad policies of the Labour Party (and they have them too) is also a reasonable thing. That we have more of an opposition, however unhinged, is a healthy thing for a democracy. The bad thing is that it will have given encouragement to Corbyn’s bunch of bright eyed ideologues, Marxist collectivists, feminist hatejobs, identity politicos and luvvie delusionalists (plus the illiberal antidemocratic Lib Dems). The government is weak, the opposition untrustworthy, so the “health” of the situation is pretty questionable.

May’s attitude was way better for Brexit, which will happen in the face of an EU which has no benign intentions towards anyone who wants to oppose it and its unaccountable ambitions. May still needs support in that, and whoever comes after her (however long she is there for) needs to have no illusions about the EU, and what a negotiation with them means.

So my position is to support Theresa May in her pursuance of Brexit, and advise people to not be taken in by ideas of “soft Brexit”, nor the pleas for a lovely friendly approach to negotiating. The unaccountable EU elite is not going to be “friendly”, so don’t kid yourselves.

But two party politics? I don’t think party politics is really even in there for most people. The lid isn’t going back on the rejection, and the rumble will just come back again.

* this would be with the DUP (who I have no love for), an idea which has been described as scandalous by Labour supporters, despite having been something the Labour Party were themselves pursuing in 2010.

Borough Market

'The Wheatsheaf' closed pub, Borough market, south London by Andy F [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Beautiful Summer morning in London, sun shining. Last night another terrorist attack, focusing on London Bridge and Borough Market, close to each other, an old and quite atmospheric part of town that nowadays has quite a few restaurants, pubs and bars.

The attackers used a van to hit people on the bridge, then men got out and started knifing people, and then went on to knife people in the Borough Market area, including in restaurants and pubs as I understand. To their great credit people fought them with chairs and glasses and I expect whatever was to hand, and the police shot the terrorists dead. One witness reports the attackers as shouting “this is for Allah”, but it is surely only a matter of time before it is confirmed that the terrorists were Muslim. Message me if they turn out to be atheists, Christians, Sikhs, Hindus, Pagans, agnostics or white nationalists, but I won’t be holding my breath. Seven dead, 48 wounded, 21 in critical condition.

As a Londoner can I just say: please don’t light candles, say prayers, hold vigils. Please don’t tell us to “carry on” in the Blitz spirit. Yeah, we’ve been there done that. We did it in the 70s – 90s with the IRA. But that isn’t how you defeat an enemy, and we HAVE an enemy. Islamist ideology has been taught in the Muslim mainstream for decades. Taught in the mainstream. Meanwhile the media and much of the political class want to pussy foot around Islam, as if it can’t be criticised like any other religion or ideology. As Maajid Nawaz has eloquently explained, it is as absurd to claim that violence has nothing to do with Islam as it is to claim that it is everything about Islam. It is about time it was clearly acknowledged that Islamism* is incompatible with liberal democracy, it is inherently political (take a look at the Medina chapters of the Quran if you want to see some of its mainstream underpinning), and it leads right here.

It is farcical for people to say “but Christianity was just as bad”. Christianity in the West has had its teeth (largely) pulled in terms of political power. We went through an “Enlightenment”, and a secular shift in values. Islam and Islamic societies have not done so yet. It is for them to get there, but it took us long enough, with enough trouble along the way, so don’t expect quick results, even if that is where they go eventually. I would be happy to see that happen, but it’s not our job. Our own Muslims are meant to be part of our society (however diverse within its essential cohesion), not a multi-cultural “experiment” of cultural ghettos.

What is our job is preserving what we consider to be of value in our society and our country, and dealing with an enemy that we find in our midst, as is undoubtedly the case now.

So don’t light candles, or send love and positive energy. We’re not “teaching the world to sing”. If you want to wish for something, then wish for the destruction of the religious ideology of Islamism. Wish for the destruction of those who want to hurt us and our loved ones. Fuck “Imagine“.

Don’t let the people who name the problem continue to be silenced. Stop virtue signalling. It only works when someone else is doing all the hard dirty work. We are honestly sick of that shit.

Learn what “Islamism” actually means, for us, and why it wants to kill you.

* It should be clear to any observer that Islamism and Islam are not the same thing, but it would be entirely disingenuous to assert that the former has nothing to do with the latter. Islam explicitly has the makings of Islamism within it, which is why Islamism has had the way prepared for it by mainstream Islam. Individual muslims are not Islam, and must be respected as individuals. A religion is not an individual, and should be completely open to criticism.

do we live in a Christian culture?

Edward Kelly prophet or seer to Dr Dee - by Thomas Pennant [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Would it be a surprise if I, as a Satanist, said “in considerable part, yes”? Not only that, but that it has what I consider desirable elements.

Let me elaborate.

I consider myself to be liberal in outlook, and in fact I consider Satanism to be essentially liberal in its apolitical world view, albeit Classical Liberal, and with a no tolerance clause on collectivism. Few Satanists would argue that freedom and individualism aren’t pretty irreducible values for Satanists. It’s a description rather than a definition.

While it’s possible to live under any form of society as a Satanist (in principle), I think some will afford greater enjoyment and fulfilment, not to mention a better state of general health. Liberal democracy in principle is a very promising one, and Liberal democracy in the sense we understand it, has grown out of Christian culture historically. Even the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, various “reformations”, and the rise of secularism were all things that grew out of Christianity, sometimes in direct opposition to Christianity, but they are things that arose and developed stably in Christian societies.

This doesn’t mean that they couldn’t grow out of other cultures, or that they only grew out of the Christian elements of our own (every culture has aspects of the preceding one within it in general), but it does make the form of liberal democracy we have in large part a product of Christian culture in this instance.

When we look at societies and cultures we see complex, dynamic systems that have developed over centuries and millennia, not just what that culture says about itself, or intellectual fashion dictates as an acceptable view. We now however have streams within this culture which are insidiously destructive to the dynamic of the society, notably essentially illiberal and collectivist streams of non-self-reflective social and political teaching which have become highly influential in the shaping of our society at the level of social and political management, ironically naming itself “liberal”, and focusing heavily on identity as a kind of moral category.

From the point of view of my own Satanism, let me say there is no such thing as a Satanic society. Satanism is a Left Hand Path philosophy and spirituality, and it cannot form a mainstream. That is not its function, and it is one of the reason’s children cannot be Satanists*. We can enjoy and contribute to society as full members of society, but we will always be in a borderland place in some sense. The Christian is really no more anathema to us than any other social form, in principle at least. The mainstream media at present would be a far better object of a “black mass” than the Church.

But to return to my original question, yes I think we in part live in a Christian culture, but one that has matured to the point of being free to reject itself. Our problem now is that this Christian-derived post-Christianity is decaying into a self-eating, self-hating weakness of moralism and delusion and ineffectiveness. Christianity in its history offers much to be enjoyed, just as the Pagan world it sprang from does. The new Round heads of morality and thought crime, and open borders however, they offer righteous ghosts feasting on dust.

* Not that it would necessarily be bad for the children (though it would be unintelligible for them, and inappropriate), it just can’t be done, as children have a requirement to be able to be immature in a protected environment, and Satanism is about (apart from anything else) reaching maturity and living fully as an adult. We can bring up children, but we just have to bring them up as children, in need of guidance and protection, which includes the kind of external authority which is foreign to adult Satanism.

who’s war is it anyway?

St Ann's Square tributes and memorials, Manchester, May 2017 by Ardfern (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

As you will probably have heard, we have just had another Islamist terrorist attack in the UK, this time more organised and deadly than anything since 7/7, and involving the targeting of children with a suicide bomb.

The thing that is strange about this atrocity is what it throws into relief. Striking children hits a powerful nerve with people. You would expect a great deal of anger, but the official response (in the media at least) seems to have been characterised by concern for the reaction of the public, almost more than by fear of the terrorism, as the latter is met with a kind of resignation. It’s difficult to understand this, until you realise how divorced the media in its “liberalism” from common sense, and concrete realities. It’s laudable that people do not blame whole groups for the actions of a few, but we seem to have a really distorted view of who is threatening who, and exactly who the parties are, their identities, and the meaning of those identities.

Now there is a struggle going on, or two separate struggles that I can see, one being far more developed than the other. But what the liberal consensus seems to worry over is a struggle between the “indigenous” non-muslim population, and the British muslim population. This fits their story and their ideology, as it minimises individual identity and choices in favour of classes and collectives, and it plays on exactly the trigger perceptions of “racism”, “xenophobia” and (most incoherent of all) “Islamophobia”.

This might be the trouble that the media class would feel shame over, but it is not the struggle that I can see. The struggle that I can see is between the liberal* (actually leftist-lite) elite with its influential world view, and the greater mass of people who live the lives, and meet the realities, which that elite would rather ignore. The latter are not the people which TV news crews will most likely seek out to interview. They are more likely to want action to correct what they see as problems, rather than anodyne words that extol “carrying on as normal”. It is as if the problem in the world was force, rather than how it is used; thus practical effectiveness is seen as part of the problem.

Whereas many would see a flawed human nature that we have to be pragmatically reconciled with in order to create a livable life with realistic protections, the “liberal elite” see a need for therapy, as if we were above situations like public violence (which they themselves may of course actually be, in their gated communities). “If everyone were like us, the world would be ok. Why can’t you be like us?”. Terrorists are mentally ill, misguided, loners, etc. Islam is treated as somehow privileged as a touchy ideology, and the muslim community viewed condescendingly as almost honoured guests (which really is insulting) that need special understanding. It’s like the people who behave reasonably are the ones that have to take responsibility. It’s a strangely middle class (in the British sense), self-despising, self-deluding view, but it’s not shared by the great mass of people, who however are left in no doubt that to deviate from this publicly is to be seen as “bigoted”.

The other struggle I see going on, which is far less reported because it is uncomfortable for the liberal elite, is the struggle within Islamic communities to become free of the authoritarian ideologies which not only prepare for radicalization and terror, but destroy countless muslim lives by depriving them of individual choice. This of course doesn’t fall nicely into line with ideas about “racism” and “xenophobia”, let alone “Islamophobia”, in fact the liberal-left have been treacherous in their mistrust of muslim reformers, treating them as “Uncle Tom”s (as our risible London Mayor once called them, along with telling us to just get used to political terror), Islamophobes, and essentially as a kind of “class traitor”. This is a very difficult struggle, because muslim reformers and ex-muslims face real threats from their communities, right up to threat of death.

It’s very strange when it feels like the media, the leftists-liberals, the terrorists, and the Islamic traditionalists seem to be oddly in a defacto sympathetic alliance, while the ordinary majority British people who we are told we should fear for their racism, and those muslims who are trying to get out of the situation of being dominated by a backward and violent ideology, have such obvious common cause.

You might ask who’s war this is? There is, as Maajid Nawaz says, a jihadist insurgency against the West (in fact, against the non-muslim world). “The West” isn’t doing a good job of seeing this clearly. To the point of down playing the very natural anger over the mass murder of children, and telling us that we just have to get used to it. No we don’t, and we shouldn’t.

For everyone’s sake, we mustn’t.

* the word “liberal” really has become misused, to the point where people termed “liberal” are often very illiberal in their views, and exponents of a collectivist identity politics.

red skies

Burgi Sundown By Ronnie Robertson (Burgi Sundown _MG_6260) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

I think everyone must be pretty tired of politics, but it’s like one of those soaps you just can’t stop watching. Except that there is some real life behind it, once you filter out the slogans, the sound bites, the rallying cries and the message.

The bizarre thing is that the message has never been as crude and blatant, desperate even, as it has been over the last few years in Europe and America. Barack Obama just did what was in effect a public appeal, an entirely partisan endorsement of one candidate in the two horse French presidential election. Last year the same man lectured the British on the right choice to make before the referendum on leaving the EU, with a barely disguised threat we would face, should we make the “wrong” choice. Again last year, the way Clinton was marketed across the board in the mainstream media, as the only identity that could deserve the presidency at this time in history, and the way Trump’s supporters were denigrated, was remarkable also.

Brexit has proceeded slowly, and the next UK election will be about Brexit most essentially (whatever anyone pretends). So just before this election, which will either confirm May as PM, or replace her with Corbyn (cough), out spring the leaks from the EU about meetings with the British Prime Minister, and how Juncker states that a “successful Brexit” is not possible. Followed by ridiculous “divorce settlement” figure musings. Nice timing. Underhanded, opaque. How very Brussels!

There is a deep reaction to a process taking place here, and you see it in these representatives of a globalist elite (clichéd term, but it fits), in the rubber wall of media opinion clutching its pearls in moral outrage, or else dismissively sneering at the popular ground moving away from it, and in the outright hysteria that sees fascism everywhere, violence in words and internet insults, xenophobia in any kind of local non-minority identity, and hatred in any kind of unapproved private belief system, or way of thinking. I’m not sure who it was who said that utopians always seem to eventually tend towards totalitarianism, probably in their need to “reshape” (ie negate) reality, but it seems quite a credible view.

People have always got on with their lives, irrespective of what their “betters” instructed them to ape or believe. That is the gulf that exists between priest and congregation in any healthy society. But we got this situation where a highly influential bubble was kept under the priestly spell of a technocratic, post modern utopianism. Ordinary people just got on with life, mouthed (or held back) what they needed to in order not to be reprimanded, and shrugged their shoulders, even if with some resentment. But the bubble got bigger, the spell more imperious, more righteous, more slickly sure that it was the future.

The bubble-people didn’t have the old-fashioned virtues of real life though. They allowed themselves to indulge in their collectively self-confirming follies. And it was the people outside the bubble who not only got viewed as stupid, backward, unworthy of an opinion (tricky that, when you pretend to believe in democracy), but who also had to live with the consequences. Things were not well on the road to utopia.

Despite attempts to recruit assorted minorities to the bubble cause (“support us or you’re done for”), and threaten and shame the rest, the spell has been breaking, the bubble wearing thin, and the breath of fresh air that people have felt has not been forgotten.

It’s strange to watch the media, much of the political establishment, and what have been termed “the chattering classes” look at all this and think that they can have business as per the last 50 years, offer people the option of “what we tell you” or disaster/fascism/apocalypse/xenophobia/punishment, and think that people are really going to go for the former, and believe their characterisation of the latter. There’s a fundamental mismatch of world view here, and the world view which is losing its grip just doesn’t get the thing it can’t seem to control. You could criticise Trump all you liked, insult his followers, and it didn’t even matter that Trump was flawed and ill-qualified, when you kept on insisting that people believe in Clinton. You could threaten the Brexit choice with punishment and demonization,  but your denial of the severe problems of the EU was just going to speak for itself. You can scream “fascist” (or “wolf”) as much as you like, but when you refuse to listen to people’s concerns, and insist they do what you tell them or else, then you betray a pious authoritarianism. Calling yourself “liberal” doesn’t make it so.

At some point the Emperor stands there, naked in the new clothes, and bolts for it. But despite what is wailed from the roof tops of the BBC, this isn’t a dark, atavistic will of the mob. It’s the relief of reality being admitted at last.

Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight. Red sky in the morning, sailor’s warning.

It’s just another day for most people. Hopefully with less bullshit.

trying to string up Milo

I know I’ve said I would try and keep off politics, but fuck me.

Just to be completely clear, Milo is not a paedophile. He has worked to expose paedophiles in fact. His condemnation of paedophilia has always been clear. He was abused as a 13 year old.

I disagree with a fair amount of what Milo says generally, and that fact is completely irrelevant.

Was some of what Milo said stupid? Yes, and to me distasteful (but oh yeah, I’m a grown up and can make up my own mind on things). Were they personal to him? Yes, as far as I can see, overwhelmingly. Did he challenge age of consent law? No, the opposite in fact, explicitly. Did he “enable” predators? I am quite sure that was not his intention, and I doubt that predators are waiting to misinterpret his opinions, especially when buried in a rambling, hours long online discussion. Is he opposed to abuse of minors? Vehemently so.

I am opposed to his views on pederasty, which appear to reflect something akin to the ancient Greek idea of the mentoring relationship between  the erastes and the eromenos. I don’t buy that, as the pitfalls of potential abuse and destructiveness would be legion, given the unequal capacity to give real consent. Quite simply, a teen cannot understand a relationship in the same way as an adult, cannot understand the potential distortion of their development, and even if they enthusiastically agreed or even initiated a relationship, it doesn’t matter. Adult relationships involve adult consent. It’s the adult’s job to put the minor right, refuse and maybe see if they need proper help from the appropriate source. I think Milo’s views, which were not unnuanced, and were expressed in the aforementioned rambling online discussion, were wrong, but that is his opinion, I think it is probably influenced by his own past and how he has chosen to cope with it, and he has committed no crime. I repeat: he is not a paedophile, he is vehemently opposed to paedophilia, and has exposed paedophiles in his work.

The media frenzy over his off hand comments trivializes actual abuse – but then I think it’s pretty clear that protection of children was not the primary intention of the perpetrators of the hit.

If you aren’t defending the free speech of people you disagree with, you aren’t defending free speech at all, and it really wasn’t this speech of his they were trying to shut down.

Don’t be fooled.

[23rd February: post edited].