“Social Justice” chronicles: #1. common sense vs. alarmism.

Selected from National Review, July 12, 2017.

“Hosing human waste off pavement reminds one leftist of hoses used against civil-right activists. A city councilman in Seattle is reportedly opposed to hosing sidewalks that reek of excrement near a local courthouse because he fears that it might be racially insensitive. No, this is not a joke. The area surrounding King County Superior Court includes a homeless shelter and other social-services organizations and has become an “unsanitary and potentially frightening” scene — one “that reeks of urine and excrement” — according to an article in the Seattle Times. Desperate for help with the disgusting environment, two of the court’s judges have asked the city to please power-wash the poop-covered sidewalks. That seems like a pretty reasonable request, but apparently, one councilman is worried that doing so might be a form of microaggression.

“According to the Times, Councilmember Larry Gossett “said he didn’t like the idea of power-washing the sidewalks because it brought back images of the use of hoses against civil-rights activists.” Now, I’m not trying to diminish the struggles of civil-rights activists, but Gossett’s concern here is nothing short of insane. I mean, seriously — who even thinks of such a thing? I see people power-washing bodily fluids off of the streets of New York City (including streets outside of courthouses) all the time, and I have not once seen any of them being called racist. To be fair, this city does still smell terrible, so the power-washing plan might not be the perfect solution on practical grounds, but at least it’s a start. What else are you going to do — not wash them? Because I really, really reject the idea that leaving sidewalks covered with human bodily waste is the less offensive move in this (or any) situation. Anyone over the age of three knows that if you see poop somewhere, it’s supposed to be cleaned up. What’s more, most little kids could probably also tell you that said clean-up is supposed to involve water.

“In fact, before this, I would have told you that this is probably the least controversial opinion in human history. But social-justice alarmism can do a great job of turning the clearly uncontroversial into an outrage, and often at the expense of basic logic and practicality. It’s not that all social-justice activism is bad, of course. It’s great to be nice, and it’s great to be sensitive, but an obsession with social justice and political correctness can make people’s brains start to malfunction — and I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen a better example of that than this.”  The end.

“Social justice.” How noble sounding, but let’s inquire further. What is justice? One such definition: Justice is rendering to everyone that which is his due.” What is each person’s “due.” Who determines that, and by what standard is it determined? Once a workable, or fair, or equitable standard is applied, whose resources will the compensation come from? What if the intended compensator doesn’t agree that the designated victim deserves compensation, or they disagree on the nature or amount of the compensation? If a true injustice is being redressed, how can compensation atone for it? Isn’t true repentance and forgiveness far more valuable than material compensation?

The self-designated social justice warriors love talking about justice as a wronged group–usually downtrodden–being victimized by a more powerful or privileged group. The trouble here is that groups don’t perpetrate injustice, people do, and compensating groups probably misses most of the real victims. I wonder how much of so-called social justice outrage is simply theft by a more noble name.

Speaking of what people are due–“just desserts” maybe–the Heart Attack Grill in Las Vegas is not subtle about who their preferred customer is. But making such as offer is tempting obese people to get even heavier. How would a social justice warrior demand that the grill compensate it’s victims when they go down with diabetes or heart attacks, since no one forced them to eat that way? Free veggie burgers for life?

The peaceful majority. So what?

From The Spectator, a piece by Andrew Urban, 1 July, 2017. I have printed the majority of the editorial. My own thoughts will be in italics.

Islam has exported its primitive, age-old and endless Sunni vs Shiite war of religious violence around the world, expanding it with jihad, the violent conquest of non-believers. The uninformed rubbish many Western politicians and commentators spout – that the cause of terrorism is anti-Muslim Western actions – is happily harnessed by Muslims who overtly or covertly wish to see the dawn of the Caliphate. To the radicals, the peaceful majority of Muslims are irrelevant.

Yes, of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims, the majority are peaceful, as we all recognise and repeat ad nauseam. But that has little relevance to or impact on the day to day reality of Muslim terrorism. When a determined few set out to execute a deadly agenda, the majority have not stood in their way.

Look at history. Most Germans were peaceful; the Nazis drew up an agenda and as a result 60 million people died, 14 million in concentration camps, 6 million of them Jews. The peaceful majority were irrelevant.

Look at Russia – most Russians were peaceful as well. Yet the Russians were able to kill 20 million people. The peaceful majority were irrelevant.

Look at China; most Chinese were peaceful as well. Yet the Chinese were able to kill 70 million people. The peaceful majority were irrelevant.

Look at Japan prior to World War II; most Japanese were peaceful too. Yet the Japanese were able to butcher their way across Asia, killing 12 million people – most were killed with bayonets and shovels. The peaceful majority were irrelevant.

On September 11, 2001, we had 2.3 million Arabs living in the US; it took 19 radicals to bring America down to its knees: destroy the World Trade Centre, attack the Pentagon and kill almost 3,000 Americans that day. The peaceful majority were irrelevant.

In an open letter to the Muslim world in 2014, French Muslim philosopher Abdennour Bidar wrote that Islam ‘has given birth to monsters’ and needs reform – from within. That sentiment has been echoed by Egyptian President Sisi and, most recently, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Islam’s most eloquent apostate, whose book The Challenge of Dawa, spells out the threat posed by the ceaseless, world-wide ideological campaign waged by Islamists as a complement to jihad – and how to counter it: by fighting political Islam, the ideology, not only terrorism.

She is urging the West to look at Islam with open eyes. She says ‘It is assimilation versus dawa. There is a notion of “cocooning”, by which Islamists tell Muslim families to cocoon their children from Western society. This can’t be allowed to happen.’ She also suggests subjecting immigrants and refugees to ideological scrutiny.

You’d think this message would have got through to our leaders by now. It isn’t a call to religious intolerance, it’s the right to not tolerate the intolerant, as argued (back in 1945) by Karl Popper, the great Austrian-British philosopher who wrote of ‘the paradox of tolerance’ and said: ‘if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.’

Political leaders around the world have continued to urge tolerance, to blather and be concerned on camera, mourn the dead – and do nothing. The peaceful majority have also had to endure the green/Left which collectively sympathises with the Koran-quoting terrorists, painting them as victims of the West. This leads us logically to a shocking conclusion: our destiny is in the hands of a virulent, threatening minority whose interests and ambitions are antithetical to those of the peaceful majority.

Ideological weeds are sprouting amongst us; the mislabelling and derisory name-calling (racist, Islamophobe, bigot), started long ago, now it’s the shutting down of political opponents on public platforms with threats (eg Ayaan Hirsi Ali), and often violent activism behind anonymous masks, all manifestations of this suicidal stupidity. The peaceful majority have not stopped the abuse of democracy by elements harmful to it. Not in history, not now.

Islam will have to reform itself internally; that may take a long while, even if the West tackles dawa (Dawa can be likened to proselytizing, but it is much more than that. It might be summed up as the insidious project to Islamize the world – as cultural imperialism bent on corroding Western liberties and ultimately imposing sharia law. It is an all-encompassing precursor to jihad, a summons to conquer non-violently, and utilizes any number of mechanisms to achieve that end.).

If our politicians and security agencies don’t have the gumption, an informed public can certainly propose a menu of actions, to be undertaken simultaneously, with laws specifically designed to address terrorism, perhaps along the following lines:

a) mandatory life sentences for any and all terrorism-related offences, including returning Isis or Al-Qaeda fighters and those previously convicted, even if no longer in jail – and no parole, no bail.

b) random (covert, frequent) anti-radicalisation checks on all Muslim schools, mosques, imams and communities.

c) detention and interrogation of all those (currently 420) under ASIO investigation.

d) immediately cancel funding of Muslim organisations which do not have 100 per cent transparent distribution processes.

e) curtail and control Muslim immigration.

And most importantly, invite the Muslim community to participate in a comprehensive anti-jihad campaign involving advertising, social media and live events, led by speakers from the Muslim community – including reformed jihadists.

I disagree that measures “a to e” would have much impact. The last one would have more impact, but still MISSES THE ROOT OF THE MASS MURDERER–terrorists and tyrants– PROBLEM. The root isn’t what the homicidal minority preach or do; it’s the lack of unifying beliefs, moral courage, and adherence to principles on the part of the majority. There is almost nothing to bind us together and very little we would sacrifice for in most modern (really, post-modern) heterogeneous societies. The terrorist plague is ugly, like cancer, but it won’t kill a patient with a strong enough immune system. Europe, Australia, Canada and to a lesser extent the U.S. have weakening immune systems. Even those with the courage to name the threat don’t have an antidote they believe in. So measures to curb, isolate and punish after the fact–that menu of actions–won’t stop the threat from metastasizing.