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.
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.
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."
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).
of all publications,
has a distorted anti-Israel bias,
and whitewashes the Islamic Middle East.
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.
2006: Stephen Hawking visits China.
He never proposes boycotting it.
2007: Stephen Hawking visits Iran.
He never proposes boycotting it.
2009: Stephen Hawking visits China again.
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."
But he too comes with politics.
He had President Barack Obama introducing the new Cosmos series
The fake Bush quote:
For years, Neil deGrasse Tyson promoted a fake quote by George W. Bush
in order to mock him.
No one seemed to notice or fact check him.
The fake quote was eventually spotted and exposed by
The Federalist in Sept 2014.
The quote was meant to show that Bush was prejudiced against Islam.
(Whereas, if anything, the opposite was the case.)
As The Federalist showed, the fake quote was a garbled misremembering of a 2003 quote.
Tyson's fake Bush quote has even been for years featured on his
When the controversy blew up in Sept 2014,
Tyson's response was pathetic:
"I have explicit memory of those words being spoken by the President. ...
Odd that nobody seems to be able to find the quote anywhere ...
So I assure you, the quote is there somewhere. When you find it, tell me."
He eventually apologises, 30 Sept 2014.
But with a lack of grace, if you ask me, considering how he mocked and ridiculed Bush.
He doesn't have the guts to link to The Federalist.
He doesn't seem to realise that The Federalist, not "others", found the 2003 quote.
He has the arrogance of a man who does not take his critics seriously.
Neil deGrasse Tyson and his fake Bush quote.
Jump to 1:35.
In the same Bush-bashing speech, Tyson also
the God "Allah" is the same as the Christian God.
This is completely unscientific.
How can two fictional beings be "the same"?
Or at least, how can you state as "fact" either way
whether two fictional things are "really" the same fictional thing or not.
And yet Tyson uses this made-up "fact" to bash Bush
as hostile to Islam.
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.
"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."
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."
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.
Idiot strategists in U.S. military take this theory seriously:
Holy God in heaven:
"National Security and the Threat of Climate Change"
- U.S. military study
global warming causes poverty causes
the Taliban and al Qaeda.
On page one they reference
"failed states - the breeding grounds for extremism and terrorism."
No, you fools.
The ideology of
Islamism is the breeding ground for extremism and terrorism.
Poor, failed, hopeless countries that aren't Islamist
don't attack us.
Bin Laden thinks he can make the left believe this:
Bin Laden himself reckons there is mileage in this!
In Jan 2010 he claims he wants to kill Americans because of climate change!
(He's got a new reason every week.)
Maybe he can get some useful infidel idiots on side with this one!
Next week he'll claim to be angry about the lack of gay marriage.
The mass murderer also - in the hope of making some dumb western lefties swallow this
- cries crocodile tears about the environment:
"The number of victims caused by climate change is very big ... bigger than the victims of wars".
As if Bin Laden gives a toss about either!
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 wrote to the communist butcher
Pham Van Dong
to offer his open support
"We are wholeheartedly in support of the valiant efforts of the people of Vietnam.
... We are fully committed to the victory of the people and the defeat and withdrawal of U.S. forces."
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 and 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.)
Too Smart To Be So Dumb
by Joel Engel, 27 May 2003
- on the mysterious relationship between intelligence
Is the atheist who understands evolution likely to have better political ideas
than, say, the mainstream Christian?
The story of my lifetime is that the answer is no, not necessarily.
The relationship between intelligence in dealing with factual issues
and intelligence in dealing with humans (especially human enemies)
is not very clear.
Reagan was a religious conservative.
He dragged God into everything
- see his 1983 speech in Orlando.
He was a creationist
- a belief that can only be held by the truly ignorant
He believed in prophecies, and Armageddon.
He allowed astrology
to influence his decisions.
And yet, Reagan is one of the few Presidents I would ever quote.
He was incredibly intelligent politically.
He understood human nature.
He had a good moral compass, and recognised evil when he saw it.
As a result,
he killed the Soviet Empire
and liberated Europe.
Also a religious conservative,
also a creationist,
who dragged God into speeches.
But also a man with a moral compass.
(In contrast to, say,
Bush was a man who understood jihad far better than Obama did.
A man who understood immediately what Arafat was.
A man who destroyed the Taliban and Saddam.
His intelligence about humans compares favourably to, say, Clinton,
who was completely fooled by Arafat.
On the Middle East,
I would prefer George W. Bush to Richard Dawkins any day.
It's all very mysterious.
Doonesbury cartoon, 20 Apr 2003,
on Bush not believing in evolution.
(Also sneering at the Iraq War.)
Now I agree it is pretty dumb for any adult not to believe in evolution.
And yet I still prefer Bush to Clinton, or (god help us) Obama.
The relationship between intelligence and politics is mysterious.
And we know even the anti-Bush types like Doonesbury apply this argument selectively.
We know they never gave Carter a hard time for his creationism.
And they never cared what grades Obama ever got.
Pseudoscience Vs. Snobbery by John Derbyshire, 22 Apr 2003:
"I myself do believe in evolution
The main anti-Darwinian hypothesis .. seems to me highly improbable. It seems to me, in fact, to be pseudoscience
I'm not very intensely religious.
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.
while, speaking as a scientifically-educated person who prefers truth (so far as we can discover it) to falsehood, I would rather you believed in evolution than not, I think there are a great many other things that are much more important."
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, 14 Sept 2011.
He points out that none of le Carré's spies seem to actually believe in the West.
The guy working for the West does not seem to believe in the West.
The guy working for the Soviets does not seem to believe in the Soviets.
"there is no reason for the treason of "Bill" and no reason for the loyality of "George".
Both are characters who make no sense at all.
So it came as no shock to me when the author of this story turned out to share many of the ideological assumptions of the enemies (both external and internal) of the West."
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.)
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
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.
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).
The great John Cleese
is a boring Bush-basher too.
This is an interview
in Oct 2008.
Americans need to elect Obama to prove they are not "racist".
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.
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."
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"."
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.".
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?
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.
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.
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
Who I block on Twitter:
I will debate almost anyone.
I love ideas.
I will not debate (and will block) people who:
(a) target my job,
(b) target my appearance, or:
(c) libel me.
Also, since 2016, abusive reporting has become a thing.
I was targeted with abusive reporting by
an Israel-hater pretending to be "Jewish".
So I now also block:
(d) any account that even hints that it reports its enemies,
(e) any Israel-hater that claims to be Jewish.
It is just self-defence.