Mark Humphrys (politics)


The Irish left - People - Eddie Holt

  Anti-Israel piece, Nov 2006

Article after 9/11, Sept 2001

Western skyscrapers are "symbols of oppression"

"Why do they hate us?"

Eddie Holt

Mark Steyn in the Irish Times back in 2004.
Back when it had some diversity.
Eddie Holt couldn't stand these columns: "The Mark Steyn and Charles Krauthammer columns were/are though, it seems to me hideous, absolutely hideous."
Well they are gone now. The paper only has left-wing stuff now. The centre-right readers are gone.

Anti-Israel piece, Nov 2006

"Treated Like Animals", anti-Israel piece by Eddie Holt, Irish Times, Nov 1, 2006, contains an incredible amount of propaganda packed into one small piece.

  1. He opens with a reference to Palestinians as "animals", implying this is how Israelis referred to them. Only later do we find out it was a Palestinian who said this. See how media propaganda works?

  2. He claims the IDF attacked Palestinians for no reason:
    • He talks at length about an alleged incident at a checkpoint between Bethlehem and Jerusalem on Fri 13 Oct 2006 where the IDF allegedly started attacking queueing Palestinians for no reason.
    • He never shows the slightest curiosity as to whether this is true. Of course, if you look it up you discover there were riots that day at the checkpoints. "Hundreds of Palestinians rioted and clashed with Israeli forces at checkpoints around Jerusalem on Friday after authorities blocked them from entering the city ... Soldiers dispersed the crowds with stun grenades, tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons. At one checkpoint, desperate protesters tried to scale Israel`s massive concrete separation barrier with ladders. ... Israel did not allow Palestinian men under 45 to attend the prayers, citing security concerns. Younger men angry about not being allowed into the city threw stones at troops ... Clashes were reported at four checkpoints around Jerusalem".
    • But Holt thought we did not need to know this. We should just believe the claims of some activist who hates Israel. See how media propaganda works?

  3. The only source for his story is a communist activist:
    • It is hard to see in the article, but Holt himself did not see this incident. He is only repeating the claims of a communist activist who hates Israel, Declan McKenna. McKenna, incredibly, is chair of the Cuba Support Group, a solidarity group that supports the communist regime in Cuba. But Holt does not tell us this.
    • Cuba has not held a free election since 1950. While Israel has had a free election every couple of years since 1948. But Holt uncritically repeats the stories of the Cuba activist and attacks the democracy of Israel. Some sources require scepticism, some don't. See how media propaganda works?

  4. Finally, Holt complains that members of the IPSC, a group that hates Israel and marches with Hamas and Hezbollah flags, were subject to harsh scrutiny by Israeli security. Incredible.

Article after 9/11, Sept 2001

From dollars to debris by Eddie Holt, Irish Times, Sept 22, 2001, is perhaps the archetypal Irish left-wing response to 9/11. See image.

This illustrates in a nutshell the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of the Irish left, their trendy moral equivalence, and their inability to deal with 9/11 or with Islamic terror in general. Here's how Holt responded to the slaughter of thousands of innocent civilian men, women and children by fascists.

"To some, it simply represents the barbarians' sacking of Rome; to others, it has detonated a 21st-century crusade against Islam. Yet others see it fundamentally as Arab revenge for centuries of Western imperialism, greed and arrogance."

The "others" is beautiful. - The author doesn't say he agrees with this sick point of view - that one can take "revenge" by killing innocent civilians. But he "understands" it.

"The New York skyline, arguably the most dominant icon of Western power and supremacy, was undeniably majestic and beautiful, at least in the sense of being awe-inspiring. But like, say, Versailles, which bespeaks a certain kind of beauty to a certain kind of aesthetic sensibility, such magnificence may be possible only through exploitation."

Again, the "may be" is beautiful. He implies that the innocent office workers of the WTC are somehow part of "exploitation". He tarnishes their deaths and their innocence. His instinct is not to condemn the fascist killers but to try to "understand" their point. It is not quite an apologia for the fascists. But he is certainly trying to cast doubt on the innocence of the victims.

Of course he doesn't understand them at all. He tries to shoehorn them into some stupid Marxist framework that makes sense to him. But of course they kill for religion, not for economics. The right understands them much better than the left. And the conclusion of understanding them is understanding that they must be destroyed.

[In the eyes of many of the poor of the world:] "The World Trade Centre was, in local Irish terms, the ultimate Big House, a font simultaneously of civilised living and oppression."

The office workers are "oppressors". Because they are involved in capitalism. Because they go to work in an office, or as cleaners, or restaurant workers, or firemen. Because they try to feed their families. Because of that, we can "understand" the spoilt, rich, idealistic young fascists that try to kill them. Working hard and trying to earn money means you can be killed. Lenin would agree. Holt doesn't say he agrees with this sick idea. But he "understands" it.

You know, Holt never really explains how people working hard are responsible for "exploitation" or "oppression". It is just tossed in. It is assumed that we are familiar with these crackpot ideas - that the rich world "exploits" Arabs (or the third world, or somebody) - that our wealth is built on the exploitation of others.

Perhaps Holt thinks these ideas are "proved", and can be taken as read. But of course they are pure nonsense. The reality is that the west has earned its wealth fairly, by inventing and refining the powerful ideas of science, democracy and capitalism. The simple reality is that the Arabs and the third world are poor and unfree not because of us but because of the lack of science, democracy and capitalism. The only person stopping them getting rich is themselves.

There is somebody to blame for most of the problems in the world - the famine, poverty, ignorance, racism, oppression, democide and war. There is actually somebody to blame for most of this. Almost all of the problems in the world - war, famine, poverty - are caused by non-western governments. Non-western governments restrict intellectual freedom, restrict economic freedom, abuse human rights, and threaten their neighbours with tribal wars and wars of aggression. These appalling governments are mainly communist, Islamic or African, with a few others.

The bleak reality is that Arabs are poor and unfree because of Arab governments. And the third world is poor because of third world governments.

"How could anybody fly themselves and planeloads of passengers into those buildings? Well, they did - believing, I suspect, that they represented one fundamentalism attacking another. Since the late 1970s, many Western governments have become imbued with a theological belief in the supremacy of "free" markets."

Oh how clever. There's a certain kind of leftie that thinks this sort of moral equivalence is marvellously clever. Free democracies with free economies are just another form of fundamentalism. No, Mr.Holt they're not. They are what they say. They are free societies and free economies, as opposed to societies and economies that are not free.

And it's not a "theological" belief. It's an empirical belief. Economic freedom and property rights lead to prosperity. Whether you like it or not, it's statistical, empirical fact. In fact, it is perhaps the clearest statistical finding in the entire field of economics.

Your beliefs are theological, Mr.Holt. Socialism and anti-capitalism in all its forms is fantasy unsupported by empirical fact. Even before the end of the 19th century, Marxism had been disproved as comprehensively as any theory in economics has ever been disproved. Even before it slaughtered 100 million people (after 1917) it had been disproved. Yet belief in Marxism continued.

"If fundamentalism is best defined as a reaction against everything which comes from the outside world - surely an illogical, even blasphemous, attempt to freeze time itself - then Bush's more inward-looking America caught a form of the virus."

Blah, blah, blah. The US is just like Afghanistan. Amn't I clever? Blah, blah, blah.

"The conflict we now face is unquestionably about the distribution of power and wealth in the world. Obviously, it became too top-heavy, and it has led to catastrophe."

It's our fault. Why do they hate us? We must change. No, Mr.Holt, you are wrong. This is not what this conflict is about. This conflict is about waging all-out war against the medieval killers of Islamofascism. It is about invading and changing the entire Middle East so that Islamofascism is humiliated and finished.

"A significantly less unequal world, with a vibrant US run by intelligent and fair-minded politicians and not by dementedly avaricious business executives - Talibanic in their zeal - would do me."

Businessmen are like the Taliban, in a way. Don't you know. Amn't I clever? Blah, blah, blah. I'm not saying it was right to kill all those capitalist pigs, but, you know ...

And his vision for the world is: "A significantly less unequal world". What kind of pathetic vision is that? Stalin and Pol Pot could have agreed with that. How about: A world where everyone lives in a free society and tyrants no longer exist. A world where every country is a democracy, and communism and Islamic law are ended.

I see this as the archetypal annoying Irish Times article. Smug. Sanctimonious. Full of sly innuendo against everything good in the world. Full of clever understanding of everything evil. Playing smug games of moral superiority while real leaders have to make hard decisions in nightmarish situations, and real heroic soldiers die to protect our world.

Western skyscrapers are "symbols of oppression"

Socialist Worker special issue after 9/11, Sept 2001.
This callously declares that the twin towers were "symbols of oppression". Who knew?
How dare people go to work in an office block! If you are so cruel as to have a job in an office block, don't be surprised if third-world Islamic religious maniacs come to kill you as you sit there in your "symbol of oppression".

The World Trade Centre. Image from
I look at this building and I see the glory of western science, technology, architecture, capitalism, commerce and freedom. I admire the people who built it. I admire the civilization that can fill it with productive companies.
Leftists look at it and see ... oppression! That's why I can't stand leftists.

Not one of the people above provides any evidence as to why the World Trade Centre represents "oppression", or why it is objectionable in any way.

The World Trade Center is being rebuilt.
The tallest building, One World Trade Center ("The Freedom Tower"), is completed.
Photo 2014. From Erick Houli. Creative Commons.
More buildings are planned at the site, but this will remain the tallest.
The office part is exactly the same height as the old World Trade Center. See graphic comparison from here.
It is the tallest building in America.

"Why do they hate us?"

Many people do understand what the Islamists are and why they hate us. Here are a few quotes:

  1. Republican U.S. President George W. Bush understands, as Eddie Holt doesn't.
    Bush's immediate reaction to 9/11 was quite different (speech, September 20, 2001), and history has proved him right:

    "We are not deceived by their pretenses to piety. We have seen their kind before. They are the heirs of all the murderous ideologies of the 20th century. By sacrificing human life to serve their radical visions - by abandoning every value except the will to power - they follow in the path of fascism, and Nazism, and totalitarianism. And they will follow that path all the way, to where it ends: in history's unmarked grave of discarded lies."

  2. Conservative Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper understands, as Eddie Holt doesn't.
    Harper on the (surprising to some) Islamist terror plot against Canada, 2006:

    "Their target - their alleged target - was Canada. Canadian institutions. The Canadian economy. The Canadian people. As at other times in our history, we are a target because of who we are and how we live, our society, our diversity and our values - values such as freedom, democracy and the rule of law"

    It's not, as leftists naively believe, what we do that Islamists hate. It's who we are. Islamism will always war against free societies, no matter what we do. Like similar global ideologies before it, that is its nature. Leftists think it is naive to think that "they hate our freedom". But they do not understand the sick mind of the jihadi. In reality, it is hopelessly naive to think terror is about poverty, or oppression, or Israel, or foreign policy, or imperialism, or power, or oil. Islamism is far darker than that.

  3. I like this explanation by Laurent Murawiec of the Hudson Institute: "Deterring those who are already dead?", May 2006.
    • "Contemporary jihad is not a matter of politics at all (of "occupation", of "grievances", of colonialism, neocolonialism, imperialism and Zionism), but a matter of Gnostic faith. Consequently, attempts at dealing with the problem politically will not even touch it. Aspirin is good, and so is penicillin, but they are of little avail to counter maladies of the mind. I am emphatically not saying here that the jihadis are "crazy". I am saying that they are possessed of a disease of the mind, and the disease is the political religion of modern Gnosticism in its Islamic version."

  4. Bin Laden, Oct 2001, explains why the Twin Towers were attacked: "The values of this Western civilization under the leadership of America have been destroyed. Those awesome symbolic towers that speak of liberty, human rights, and humanity have been destroyed. They have gone up in smoke." Nothing to do with capitalism, Mr.Holt.

  5. Nick Cohen sums up Eddie Holt's world: "The Left's critics attacked it at the time for wanting to appease al-Qaida, but the charge was too kind. Giving Hitler territory in Czechoslovakia appeared a rational solution to German grievances. Even if it proved to be a disaster, you can understand why the appeasers thought their policy of accepting Hitler's demands would avert war. The difference in 2001 was that the Islamists couldn't have what they wanted because the Caliphate they wanted was impossible. Rather than listening to what bin Laden was saying, leftish intellectuals adopted a stance for which I find no precedent: they urged the appeasement of demands that hadn't been made. They used bin Laden as an ally to promote their own wish list and called for a limit to globalization, the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the West Bank or a rerun of the disputed 2000 American Presidential election. The contrast with the Thirties isn't flattering. Say what you like about the appeasers of Munich, but they studied Hitler, even if they got him wrong. Their successors didn't know what the Islamists wanted and didn't want to find out."

  6. Barack Obama had the same naive reaction to 9/11 - that it was all about global poverty, or something.
    Some funny comments on Obama's theories here, including:
    "Leftist: We understand your anger toward us in the US. We really do.
    IslamoNazi: No, you don't. If you understood it you would bow to Allah and slay your fellow countrymen.
    Leftist: Now, now, you don't really believe that.
    IslamoNazi: Um, yes, we do.
    Leftist: No, no, that's just the poverty talking."

  7. In 2004, Osama bin Laden, responding to President Bush's claim that al Qaeda "hates freedom", asked: "If so [if al Qaeda hates freedom], let him [Bush] explain to us why we have not attacked Sweden, for example."
    In 2010, Al Qaeda attacked Sweden.
    As Raymond Ibrahim notes, December 21, 2010, the jihad hates all free countries, and will get round to them all eventually: "And so, to respond to Osama bin Laden's 2004 question "why we [al Qaeda] have not attacked Sweden," the answer is - because the time was not quite right then."

Bush at Ground Zero, 14 Sept 2001, has a far more rational response to the global Islamist jihad than Eddie Holt or Barack Obama:
"I can hear you. I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you. And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon."

A 2011 children's colouring book, "We Shall Never Forget 9/11", says that the jihad attacked America on 9/11 because it hates western values (such as free speech, freedom of religion and freedom of sexuality). That the evil men hate us because we are free.
This is, of course, true. It is exactly the freedom of the west that drives the jihadists crazy.
The colouring book's analysis of 9/11 is much closer to the truth than Eddie Holt.

Hitchens sums up 9/11 quite well, 10 years on, in Sept 2011.
The "most essential fact about al-Qaida" is that they are evil.

The "root cause" of 9/11

An army veteran from Louisiana in October 2001, as the awesomely brave American troops prepare to go into Afghanistan:
"Reservists and regulars, kids and old pros, doing the work that men must do to allow latte-laced discussions of moral equivalence. Somewhere on a filthy hill, hard men wait to do their duties, to locate and destroy those who would practice evil. While these men await that moment, anointed thinkers castigate them."

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