People who let me down after Sept 11th
I don't feel I have really changed since Sept 11th.
I still believe in human rights, free speech and freedom of religion
for the whole planet
(not just for westerners).
And now we are in a war against the fascist enemies of human rights,
of course I support that war, just as I would have supported the 1939-45 war.
it seems to me, has betrayed me.
I always thought they hated fascism, and would support any war against it.
And yet the test came and most of them failed it.
It makes me doubt that these people would have supported the Allies
in the 1939-45 war either.
There are many people who are against the war
who I never really admired.
This page is about the people I really admired
who let me down.
tries to cram 9/11 into a pre-existing left-wing framework,
Sunday 16 September 2001
Who will dare damn Israel?
Every nutter in the world will.
My reaction to this kind of thing was ultimately to leave the left
- and to stop buying The Observer
was the Editor of Private Eye
1963 to 1986.
is a significant thinker.
He has the best definition in history of what religions are
- powerful memes.
He has the best explanation
of why the ideas of Islam, for example,
can gain millions of followers.
And his first reaction to 9/11 in 2001
made me think he was going
to stand up against Islamic religious fascism.
But the moment passed.
Here he is, one year later,
and praising Robert Fisk.
following the unthinking line of the left.
And in 2003, Dawkins really succumbed to the collective madness
that gripped the world over Iraq.
His writing on this topic in 2003
has seriously damaged my respect for him.
Like Bertrand Russell,
Dawkins is so good on science and religion,
yet hopelessly naive on politics.
Letter, March 6, 2003
where he supports following the UN
- a collection of unelected thugs and religious dictators,
dozens of whom would execute Dawkins
if he lived in their country.
Bin Laden's victory, March 22, 2003
shows how, for some reason,
Dawkins is incapable of applying reason to politics.
Compare his Indymedia-style hysteria
to the cold, calm use of reason and defence of the Enlightenment
by Victor Davis Hanson.
Letter, Independent, August 23, 2003
He calls the brave allied troops that died to liberate Iraq
The Iraqis don't agree.
They think they are heroes.
Letter, September 5, 2003,
He gloats that
"US armed forces are "overstretched", and that
is exactly how they should be."
What he is doing here is actually gloating
over attacks by Islamic religious fascists
on Americans and Iraqis trying to build a new society.
He is also in this letter
delighted that the Islamic religious tyranny
of Iran will be left alone for the moment.
Dawkins here is not an enemy of religious fascism.
He is a friend of it.
- Johann Hari
- Letter to George W. Bush
by Dawkins, November 18, 2003,
though it seems to be written by a teenager on Indymedia.
Why does Dawkins' intelligence and reason seem
to simply vanish away
when he talks about politics?
Richard Dawkins, George W. Bush, and Morality
fisks Dawkins' letter in a spirit of sadness:
"Dawkins was one of the great thinkers of the
- A comment on the above says:
"As I read his letter's excerpts
(along with the excellent fisking), this Bright man dimmed, dimmed, dimmed
before my eyes. I better not hear about this kind of thing from
- Letter to Americans
by Dawkins, October 13, 2004.
- Other people disappointed with Dawkins:
I have not read Dawkins on politics for years.
I still like his writing on science and religion,
but I have been zoning out his politics for a long time.
Charles C.W. Cooke, 3 Nov 2012, during the 2012 US election, brings me up to date on (of course) Dawkins' ludicrous enthusiasm for Barack Obama.
Cooke is amused at Dawkins trying to say that Mormonism
is nuttier than Christianity.
We all know the only reason he is saying this is because the Republican Romney
is a Mormon.
As a comment says:
"I do think that a Mormon Democrat against a Republican Christian would have been treated quite differently, and that certainly does Dawkins and his supposed commitment to intellectual honesty no credit."
- Cooke, who like me is sympathetic to Dawkins on science and religion, says:
"Politics does funny things to people.
I’ve very much enjoyed Dawkins’s books on science, biology, and evolution, and I enjoyed The God Delusion, too.
... however .. it clear that whatever genius Richard Dawkins has for science does not extend into politics or current affairs.
On the lecture circuit, Dawkins likes to explain to his audiences that
faith corrupts thinking people. Alas, his love affair with Barack Obama appears to have proven him correct."
This section is on
scientists with bad politics in any time period, not just after 9/11.
- Bertrand Russell
- I admire Russell for his lonely opposition to World War One.
deserves credit for his early (1920) recognition of the oppressive nature of Lenin and Bolshevism.
But some of his later activities are less impressive.
Russell's proposal to end the Cold War
was a "world government"
that would have included tyrants like the Soviets and Mao's China,
directly ruling over us.
- Russell supported North Vietnam:
- Russell's last political statement, issued in 1970,
was a condemnation of the democracy of Israel.
- Albert Einstein
- Carl Sagan
- Carl Sagan
is another wonderful, soaring scientific thinker
who has naive ideas about the human world.
- Contact (1985)
is one of the great sci-fi stories of all time, because it is written by a real scientist.
But if you don't agree with Sagan's boilerplate leftie views on Vietnam or the Cold War,
you might find them annoying.
I never noticed them the first time I read it, because I did not know there was any other way of looking at the world.
- Stephen Hawking
- Michael Atiyah
- The mathematician
Sir Michael Atiyah,
President of the Royal Society,
is part Lebanese, and
grew up in the Arab world.
worked for the Arab League.
- It might be sadly predictable, therefore, that he
marched against the liberation of Iraq, and
believes that Israel, rather than
the ideology of Islamism,
the root cause of terror:
"The real fundamental cause of these things arises out of the Israeli-Palestinian problem.
the Israeli-Palestinian thing is at the core of that.
As long as that's not stopped in a satisfactory way, the problem will continue.
It is the terrible irony of the world that the Jews suffered terribly during the war
in the Holocaust, and now are in some senses the cause of the next Holocaust."
- The futurist and atheist
writes well about memes and religion,
but not so well about politics.
Evolutionary Psychology, Memes and the Origin of War, Apr 20, 2006,
tries to discuss Islamism, Iraq and war in general.
- Oddly enough, memes are
the answer to the question of why ludicrous ideas like Islamism spread,
and indeed why many (even most) wars start.
Yet he resists this as the main answer,
instead starting with the claim that
"All wars arise from population pressure"
and saying it is basically right.
He says bad memes are triggered by economic conditions
rather than just having a life of their own:
"In short, humans go into war either because (1) "war memes" build up in a population looking at bleak prospects or (2) they are attacked."
Surely as a memeticist he should know better.
Memes can exist for no good external reason,
just that they are good memes.
There are many poor countries in Africa and across the world that do not
generate international terror.
There are specific reasons why the Islamic world does.
And they are to do with memes, not economics.
the modern Islamist revolutionaries are wealthy and educated
(like most revolutionaries and killers in history).
He claims democracies do not start aggressive wars because they have good economic conditions:
"It is the effect of low birth rates and relatively high economic growth that has kept the democracies from starting wars."
I disagree. Democracies do not start aggressive wars because
of the structural nature of democracy and free societies.
War, terror and democide are not correlated to economics.
Rather they are correlated to the presence or absence of democracy and a free society.
- His writing is quite amoral.
There is no sense in his writing
that democracy is morally superior to non-democracy.
Only that it has somehow
produced better economic conditions, which reduce war.
- He claims the US liberation of Iraq was driven by fear and irrational emotion,
thus nicely ignoring all the neo-conservative
arguments for the Iraq war.
Nice not to have to address them.
- And of course, like all leftists on Iraq,
he has absolutely no positive solution for what to do next
(he makes some "joke" about swapping the population of Iraq
with that of Texas).
Lucky for Iraq,
America did figure out what to do next.
They won the war.
And lucky for the world,
there is also a way to stop all wars:
make every country a democracy.
And this utopia may actually happen.
- Noam Chomsky
- The Lancet
Criticism of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
(and their Doomsday Clock).
of all publications,
has a distorted anti-Israel bias,
and whitewashes the Islamic Middle East.
- Free Inquiry
let me down by
taking an editorial line
against the Iraq War.
This is not an issue on which taking an editorial line
This seriously damages the credibility of their magazine.
2009: Stephen Hawking visits China.
He never proposes boycotting it.
Stephen Hawking boycotts Israel
writes a fine
Open Letter to Stephen Hawking
, 8 May 2013:
"Sadly, however, I now believe that you are the latest in a line of celebrities, academics and politicians who are being misled by the closed-minded, closed-shop style of debate that I know you to have rejected over the majority of your life."
OK I never admired Ted Honderich anyway (or knew anything about him)
so he did not "let me down".
But I include him here because as a scientist, atheist and "humanist"
you would think he would use some logic when it comes to terror.
He is an open apologist for Islamic religious terror.
The Real Friends Of Terror, TV program, 2006:
"It strikes me that the Palestinian's only hope is terrorism.
That was their only means, which I absolutely believe without the slightest hesitation.
The Palestinians are up against what is said to be the fourth largest military power in the world.
Do they have much choice in how they respond to it?
It could be that the Palestinian people do have reason to resort to the terrible weapon
that is the suicide bomber.
Yes, the Palestinians do indeed have a moral right to their terrorism
against [neo-Zionism] in all of historic Palestine.
It seems to me clear that the Palestinians have had and continue to have a moral right
to their terrorism against the ethnic cleansing of Neo-Zionism.
It seems to me that the Palestinians have a moral right to their terrorism
against the ethnic cleansing of Neo Zionism
in taking from them the last fifth of historic Palestine."
He idiotically believes that Israel
is the main cause of the modern Islamist religious jihad.
- Incredibly, he believes 9/11 was somehow
about Israel and "support of the Palestinians":
"The attack on America on 9/11 was monstrously wrong.
It was wrong, according to the Principle of Humanity, because it was a monstrously irrational means
to an end that was partly defensible.
I mean support of the Palestinians and resistance to neo-Zionism."
- Ted Honderich's
previous mad theory
in After the Terror, 2002,
was that 9/11 was somehow about fighting global poverty:
"Is it possible to suppose that the September 11 attacks
had nothing at all to do with ... Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Sierra Leone?"
As if Bin Laden gives a shit about infidel black Africans!
is 60 percent Muslim.
are 80 percent
who Bin Laden regards as vermin.
is 99 percent kafir
- the whole country could be exterminated as far as Bin Laden could care.
Climate change causes terror!
An even funnier theory than Ted Honderich's
idea that Bin Laden is angered by African poverty!
At a London conference, Jan 2007, scientists identify
one of the root causes of terrorism:
Apparently this angers Bin Laden, or something.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, June 2007, says climate change, not Islamism, is the cause of
the 25 year Islamist genocide in Sudan.
Funny how the "climate change"
seems to have started in 1983.
- Idiot strategists in U.S. military take this theory seriously:
- Bin Laden thinks he can make the left believe this:
Too Smart To Be So Dumb
by Joel Engel
- on the mysterious relationship between intelligence
Reagan and George W. Bush
appear (to me too, who supports them!)
not to be as "intelligent"
(in the sense of being well-read, etc.)
as say Clinton.  
Yet on foreign policy, Reagan killed the Soviet Empire
and liberated Europe,
while Bush is liberating the Middle East.
Bush hates tyrants and wants to destroy them,
while Dawkins and other
western intellectuals who should know better
are in effect on the side of tyranny.
It's all very mysterious.
 Let me be clear on
and George W. Bush.
I'm not at all saying I buy the general stereotype of their stupidity.
Both are/were very intelligent politically, for example.
Both understand human nature.
Both have a good moral compass, and recognise evil when they see it.
But still, both are disappointing men to support.
Both are religious fundamentalists.
Both drag God into everything
- see Reagan's speech in Orlando.
Both are creationists
- a belief that can only be held by the truly ignorant
Reagan believed in prophecies, and Armageddon.
Reagan allowed astrology
to influence his decisions.
And so on.
So yes, I do find them "not intelligent" in many ways.
And yet they both did the right thing.
-  I used to say "Carter and Clinton".
But it turns out
Carter was a creationist too.
"The argument .. that George W. Bush is unfit for the Presidency
because he does not
believe in the theory of evolution
.. leaves me utterly unimpressed."
says John Derbyshire,
in an interesting article
Hollywood vs. Our Leaders
by Cindy Osborne
- lists the education records of members of the Bush administration,
and the education records of some of the
celebrity "anti-war" left.
- Kurt Vonnegut
praises jihadi suicide killers of women and children.
- John le Carré
- I thought
John le Carré
was another person who let me down,
when I read his crackpot anti-American views on the current war.
John le Carré is Mr Angry now that Smiley's day has gone
by Daniel Johnson, Daily Telegraph, 2 Dec 2003.
John le Carré's anti-Bush letter to Americans, 2004.
- I thought he had changed,
but that was because I was under the mistaken impression that he
supported the West in the Cold War.
I never liked his novels you see, and never read one through.
But it turns out he was full of moral equivalence in the Cold War too,
empathised with those who defected to the Soviets.
- John le Carré's reply
to the above article
makes it clear he was not a believer in communism,
only in moral equivalence.
Why I despised "Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Spy" as a child - and still do
by Paul Marks.
He points out that none of le Carré's spies seem to actually believe in the West.
- In contrast,
Orson Scott Card
is someone who
surprised me with his sanity.
I love his science fiction.
Now it turns out he has great politics too.
(Well, on foreign policy at least.)
- Terry Jones
Monty Python lets me down.
Instead of doing something actually
daring, heroic and much-needed,
like making a Life of Brian
he outputs a constant stream of ignorant anti-American
I'm losing patience with my neighbours,
This smartass disputes that Saddam is a mass murderer:
"As for Mr Patel, don't ask me how I know, I just know - from very good
sources - that he is, in reality, a Mass Murderer."
And now for something completely stupid
- The definitive take-down of Terry Jones,
by Chris Newman.
The parody at the end is of the
witch scene in
The Holy Grail.
Terry Jones Goes On The Enemies List With John Pilger and Robert Fisk
- "I will say a prayer every day from now on thanking God this moron isn't running Britain."
Tim Blair on Terry Jones
- Terry Jones
at the first, glorious, emotional
Iraqi election in 2005.
- Terry Jones, 2006,
slurs the US military by claiming they target civilians:
"it wasn't an army that Julius Caesar massacred, but a whole population including women, children, old and sick, which, I suppose, is one thing that George W Bush and Julius Caesar do have in common: pretending civilians are armed insurgents."
He provides no evidence for this.
- Jones also claims that all Iraqis killed by jihadis were actually killed by Bush:
"Julius Caesar counted his dead, whereas George W Bush can't be bothered. ... So the fact that he still sticks to an estimate of only 30,000 dead Iraqis, even when a recently published study in the Lancet suggests he's slaughtered at least 655,000 ..."
Terry Jones, Oct 2011, admits he could not make a Life of Brian about Muhammad:
"Asked if he would make a satirical film about Muslims now, he replied,
'Probably not - looking at Salman Rushdie. I suppose people would be frightened.'"
- And yet he still has no clue about the global jihad:
"I think it's whipped up by the arms industry. I read an in-house magazine called Weapons Today before the Gulf War and the editorial was headlined, 'Thank God for Saddam' and went on to say that since perestroika we have an enemy no one can complain about.
So in future we look for Islam to replace communism.
I thought they were joking - the Crusades were 1,000 years ago - but of course that's what's happening now."
What a fool.
- In contrast to Terry Jones,
the heroically brave
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
wants to film the Muslim "Life of Brian".
- The great John Cleese
is a boring Bush-basher too.
in Oct 2008.
Americans need to elect Obama to prove they are not "racist".
- Scott Adams of "Dilbert" fame
hard-to-understand "comical" piece about Iran and Israel
that does make him look like a left-wing nut.
- I certainly agree with
"Without reference to earlier work, it would be impossible to see if Scott Adams was a member of ANSWER, CAIR, a follower of David Duke or some college friend of Dylan Avery."
But see this
"While I think it's highly unlikely that Iran would ever nuke Israel ... the odds are not zero. In my opinion, Ahmadinejad's speech at Columbia, plus Iran's support for Hezbollah give Israel a legitimate reason to attack Iran in self defense.
Likewise, Ahmadinejad didn't deny Iran is helping Iraqi insurgents kill Americans. That's a legitimate reason for the United States to support an attack on Iran. It's a separate question as to whether an attack on Iran is in America's best interest."
- Adams isn't a left-wing nut.
He's just a bad writer (when he writes about politics).
John Perry Barlow
(and original post)
was a prominent Internet libertarian of the 1990s,
expressing the excitement of this new world.
- But now he is just another 1990s Rip van Winkle.
The 90s are over, John.
It's a shame, but they are.
There's a war on, and starry eyed young men
who want to kill us.
It's a pain.
I wish we were back in the 90s too.
Nobody wants to deal with these bastards.
But history didn't end.
We've got to destroy these people if we want to
have another 90s again.
Letter To John Perry Barlow From A Pot-Smoking Deadhead Bush Voter
by Dean Esmay, 9 Nov 2004, speaks for me too:
"from where folks like me stand,
it's your ideas that need to be questioned,
and it's you guys who have been on the wrong side of human rights and progress these last couple of years.
It's you guys who are the reactionaries."
- (Note the re-posted version above seems like it is by someone else,
original post and the comments make it clear it is by Dean Esmay.)
- Robert Spencer v. Dean Esmay
- In contrast,
of Wired gets it:
"Bush may be wrong about everything else, but he is right about the issue
that matters most for my children's future: stopping Islamic fascism.
And [Kerry and the Democrats] are just a joke,
preferring to act as though this probably generation-spanning war is about politics,
not the survival of the West."
These are interesting times.
Many formerly sensible people have gone mad:
- In the UK:
- Richard Dawkins
(doesn't seem to care that
we are at war with Islamist religious lunatics
who want to kill all atheists).
- Stephen Hawking
- Michael Atiyah
- Christian Aid
- The Liberal Democrats.
- The Lancet
- Robin Cook
- Now that America is abandoning realpolitik
an ethical foreign policy,
he's suddenly against it!
Help, I'm a pro-war leftie
by Oliver Kamm
- "Long before 9/11, [Blair] abandoned the conservative "realism"
- more accurately, amoral quietism - that had characterised John Major's foreign policies.
Rather than acquiescing in Serb aggression, Mr Blair confronted it.
Contrary to the Liberal Democrats' depiction of it as the biggest foreign policy error since Suez,
Iraq was the most far-sighted and noble act of British foreign policy since the founding of Nato.
Mr Blair's record exemplifies foreign policy "with an ethical dimension"."
- In the US:
- In Ireland:
- David Norris
(doesn't seem to care that
Islamists are the major killers and torturers of homosexuals and lesbians
in the world today).
- Nelson Mandela
(doesn't seem to care that
Islamists are the main slave-traders of black Africans today).
- Amnesty International
(doesn't seem to recognise that
America's "Axis of Evil" Islamist and communist enemies
are by far the major abusers of human rights
in the world today).
- Reporters Sans Frontieres
allows trendy left-wing politics to dictate
which countries they get worked up about,
rather than examining the actual state of press freedom.
- Human Rights Watch
- Index on Censorship
- Pope John Paul II
(a great defender of the West against the Soviets,
today he doesn't seem to
recognise that the Islamists want to end Christian Italy).
Open letters to George W. Bush,
November 18, 2003,
The Guardian -
for lots of rubbish by people such as:
- Richard Dawkins
- Salam Pax
- Norman Davies, the historian
- John Mortimer
- "Mickey (12)",
whose arguments are no more infantile
than the rest of the "anti-war" brigade.
Verdicts on the war,
March 14, 2004,
The Observer -
for more rubbish by:
- John Mortimer
- The Bishop of Oxford
- Richard Dawkins again
when he writes on the importance of
families, men and fathers.
Yet listen to this when he wanders off topic
in the Foreword to the UK edition of
"We are still a civilisation going to hell in a handbasket of materialistic greed.
Our current almost hysterical obsession with terrorism seems rather ingenuous,
given that our relationship with the undeveloped world is almost entirely
one of theft. Fair trade, debt reduction, no longer propping up vicious regimes
because they are someone we can do business with
are the only real solutions to the eternal risk of terrorism.".
- A mish-mash of nonsense ideas leading up to
one gloriously mad sentence in which he combines two of the most common stupid ideas
in politics and economics - the
idea that poverty is the cause of terrorism,
and the idea that the solution to poverty is fair trade and debt relief.
So fair trade and debt relief are supposed to stop the jihad now?
And this is said for no apparent reason at all!
It has nothing to do with the book!
This is only page 3 and he is trying to repel the reader, saying "If you want to read this book,
you need to buy into my crackpot economic and political ideas".
Why doesn't he stick to the topic?
- Andrew Keen
did something similar in his book
The Cult of the Amateur: How Today's Internet is Killing Our Culture (2007).
To agree with his thesis about the Internet, you had to agree with his standard left-wing views about
the Swift Boat Vets, the Iraq War, and so on.
He says he lives in
which probably explains his myopia.
The Irish Times and the Guardian let me down
I Bought The Guardian Today - So You Don't Have To,
a blogger writes in November 2003
- "As a public service, I gritted my teeth and actually bought a copy of
The Grauniad this morning,
for the first time since the autumn of 2001."
This is also my relationship with
and The Irish Times
since Sept 11th.
Before Sept 11th, I read them all the time.
I had been reading The Guardian and
for 10 years,
and The Irish Times
for 20 years.
Since Sept 11th, I tend to buy other papers.
and The Irish Times
are like old friends who have gone mad
and I hardly recognise them any more.
If they want me to buy them again,
they need to change.
Awards (separate page)
After Dawkins' offensively rude letter to Bush,
I feel the need to quote a far more pleasant letter from a man who
has not changed since the
epic, heroic struggle of the Cold War:
Dear Mr President,
Today you arrive in my country for the first state visit by an American
president for many decades, and I bid you welcome.
You will find yourself assailed on every hand by some pretty pretentious
characters collectively known as the British left. They traditionally believe
they have a monopoly on morality and that your recent actions preclude
you from the club. You opposed and destroyed the world's most
blood-encrusted dictator. This is quite unforgivable.
I beg you to take no notice. The British left intermittently erupts like a
pustule upon the buttock of a rather good country. Seventy years ago it
opposed mobilisation against Adolf Hitler and worshipped the other
genocide, Josef Stalin.
It has marched for Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Khrushchev, Brezhnev and
Andropov. It has slobbered over Ceausescu and Mugabe. It has
demonstrated against everything and everyone American for a century.
Broadly speaking, it hates your country first, mine second.
Eleven years ago something dreadful happened. Maggie was ousted,
Ronald retired, the Berlin wall fell and Gorby abolished communism. All
the left's idols fell and its demons retired. For a decade there was nothing
really to hate. But thank the Lord for his limitless mercy. Now they can
applaud Saddam, Bin Laden, Kim Jong-Il... and hate a God-fearing Texan.
So hallelujah and have a good time.
and a stunning, and totally unexpected, letter:
It is a universal truth that those born with democratic spoons in their
mouths will rail against the ruthless removal of a barbaric tyranny. Most
of the people demonstrating against you will be the latte-rati - people
whose experience of oppression is having to wait four hours for the cable
guy to come round.
I am the child of two refugees from totalitarian regimes; (*)
for this reason, you need not fear a comedy terrorist attack
against your intervention in Iraq.
I don't care why you got rid of Saddam, and neither does any Iraqi I know.
The "Comedy Terrorist" who gatecrashed Prince William's birthday party
at Windsor Castle
(*) His mother is a Jew who fled the genocide-state of
His father a Jew who fled the genocide-state of