Sunday, March 27, 2011

Savagery and Moral Depravity

Melanie Phillips is a well-known British anti-jihad author and a columnist for The Spectator. On March 13th, concerning the Itamar massacre, she wrote the following in her column:

Today the massacred Fogel family was buried in Jerusalem. And as anticipated, the moral depravity of the Arabs is finding a grotesque echo in the moral bankruptcy and worse of the British and American ‘liberal’ media…

So to the New York Times, it’s not the Arab massacre of a Jewish family which has jeopardised ‘peace prospects’ — because the Israelis will quite rightly never trust any agreement with such savages — but instead Israeli policy on building more homes, on land to which it is legally and morally entitled, which is responsible instead for making peace elusive. Twisted, and sick.

The progressive intelligentsia and their Muslim friends immediately went into apoplexy over Ms. Phillips’ words. To say such things about our friends the Arabs — how racist! How Islamophobic!

In Modern Multicultural Britain, one doesn’t just get angry at Islamophobia — one files an official complaint with the appropriate law enforcement authorities. And sure enough, that’s what happened shortly after the column was published. On March 18th the Grauniad reported:

A Melanie Phillips blogpost on the Spectator website which referred to the “moral depravity” of Arab “savages” is being investigated by the Press Complaints Commission.

The online comment piece, headlined “Armchair barbarism”, focused on media coverage of the murder of five members of a Jewish family in the West Bank settlement of Itamar by Palestinian militants earlier this month.

[…]

The column, which also referred to coverage of the murders by CNN, the BBC and the Guardian – part of the group that publishes MediaGuardian.co.uk – prompted two complaints to the press watchdog, one of them from Engage, a group promoting Muslim engagement in British society.

Inayat Bunglawala, chair of Muslims4UK, said: “Her words went far beyond just denouncing the killings. It was a far more generalised racist outburst against Arabs as a whole…”

Bunglawala said he had also complained to the police about the column.

In the video below from an Israeli news program, Ms. Phillips defends her use of the phrases “moral depravity” and “such savages”. She also discusses the dereliction of the British press in its refusal to air the whole truth when reporting on Israel.

Many thanks to Vlad Tepes for YouTubing this video:



In a post datelined tomorrow morning, The Independent expresses its disappointment that the police have been so busy with anarchist riots that they have not yet managed to act on the complaint against Ms. Phillips.

25 comments:

Cheradenine Zakalwe said...

Inayat Bunglawala, a Muslim savage who said he felt "elated" when participating in demonstrations calling for Salman Rushdie's execution.

Robert L. said...

Something I wrote up earlier today upon emailing Melanie Phillips' talk to some friends. Forgive me if this seems too theoretical, but I think it essentially gets at the heart of the issue:

Ms. Phillips' comment:

“Western intelligentsia is signed up to a way of looking at the world which is what I would call 'ideological' – it’s to do with ideas. And long ago, it lost the idea, it lost the belief in truth. That there was such a thing as truth."

I dare say this is the most penetratingly pithy, eloquent thing I've heard a public intellectual ever say. At least on a news program.

Ms. Phillips says this is a war that must be waged at the level of ideas. (Or, at least it's a war thus far to have been decided at the level ideas; who knows if it's susceptible of correction via means other than bloodshed). And yet the whole problem is that the Left is "ideological." It's an interesting contrast which bears some commentary.

It's a fair bet she has in mind London School of Economics political scientist Kenneth Minogue's path-breaking study of "ideology" and its claim on the Left. Watch the video, vintage Firing Line, of Minogue and William F. Buckley discussing his book Alien Powers, the Pure Theory of Ideology.

A different way of putting Phillips' linking truth with ideology is to say that for the intelligentsia things like facts and truth are essentially projections of will, and as such are created, not discovered.

But at a deeper level, it's precisely the belief that facts and truth are simply equivalent or coterminous- or, rather, that empirical facts exhaust the realm of what is true- which is essentially corroding the West from within. The ascription of truth to the fact-value distinction, by which all judgments of good are actually judgments of "value" and hence inescapably subjective, renders the spouting of facts otiose- ie., unavailing with respect to people whose souls (habits, tastes, conception of the good) have already been (mis)shaped politically in a certain way.

All politics and all philosophy fundamentally come down to one fundamental question: what is the given outside my will? Are ends/purposes created or given? Will implies creation. If ends are created, then there is no conflict or no politics- History is at an end, one is simply a Last Man- because the end is created by the will itself. "Willing is resoluteness toward oneself, but as the one who wills what is posited in the willing as willed" (Heidegger, Nietzsche, Volume I, p. 40). As such, the will rejects any notion of good and evil, or any sense of friends and enemies. The will posits its own end. Ergo the mind of most liberals can be summed as: "people who feel like me are 'good'; people who don't are bad." They are driven purely by sentiment. But this is just a denomination of the will. Obamas of the world fundamentally do not have an argument for why a Hitler or Ahmedinejad should feel differently.

4Symbols said...

In hoc signo vinces

"In Modern Multicultural Britain, one doesn’t just get angry at Islamophobia — one files an official complaint with the appropriate law enforcement authorities."

The political masters of the appropriate law enforcement authorities are now Conservative in the same way that Labour allegedly made Inayat Bunglawala's stabbing incident circumvent due process maybe the file on this non-incident will take the same route to oblivion.

goethechosemercy said...

Which would you prefer?
Moral depravity or mockery of virtue?
Because Arab ideas of heroism are truly a mockery of virtue.
As I see it, Phillips chose the more tactful wording.

Cheradenine Zakalwe said...

He stabbed a guy six times in the back and said it was self-defence.

goethechosemercy said...

Quote:
He stabbed a guy six times in the back and said it was self-defence.
end quote.

Then it's a mockery of self-defense.
But either way, a mockery must never be mistaken for the real thing.
This is a cover for murder.
Blow it up.

"New Obama Logo/Islamic Crest DoD Patches?" said...

Only a Savage would believe that he would receive 72 Virgins when he dies for murdering innocents, either that, or someone very, very stupid. What kind of so-called "god" would offer sex for murder? Certainly not the True God, the God of Israel and Christians, only a savage, barbaric Moon Enity called Allah! Allah fits perfectly the description given in the Bible of Satan. Makes a person wonder, huh?

Geoffrey Britain said...

Robert L is correct as to the philosophical foundations at play, which have far more importance than perhaps most people credit.

The reaction to Ms Phillips commentary is predictable, her premise is that Islam itself is the problem and what has led to that premise is simple observation, supported by factual data.

84% of Egyptians support the death penalty for apostasy. Which means 84% of Egyptians are murderously opposed to religious freedom, for anyone.

The likelihood that the less educated the populace, the greater that percentage will be is near certain.

But education is not the answer, demonstrated by the fact that 42% of young, educated British Muslims support, in the UK, the implementation of sharia law. That figure is rising.

In any fight, the majority of people identify with the winner and in the clash of civilizations we are witnessing, the west is slicing its own throat.

Cheradenine Zakalwe said...

In fact, Melanie Phillips did not say Islam was the problem, even though it is. In fact, in an article in the Jewish Chronicle, she mocked Robert Spencer for extending her statement to embrace Islam rather than just Arabs.

"According to the anti-Islam site, Jihadwatch, I was in hot water because I had referred to the Fogel family murderers as depraved Arabs, whereas I should have referred to them instead as depraved Muslims.

And the reason I had not done that was — wait for it — that I suffered from ‘lingering’ political correctness.

Don’t tell the Guardian: it might get in the way of the hate."

Robert L. said...

Correction re my earlier comment: the statement I quoted from Melanie Phillips, it turns out, is from a different interview on the same Islaeli television show. After watching the video Baron linked to here at GoV, it's obvious she did more than one day's interview for the show.

The quote is lifted is from a segment about which Israeli writer Judith Levy blogged yesterday at Ricochet.com and can be seen here (quote at 3:48). I also think Phillips is in better, more incisive form here.

Hesperado said...

Robert L,

If I understand you correctly, I disagree.

Leftists are only superficially relativists and equivalencists. In fact, they posit an absolutist condemnation of the white West and an absolutist praise of the non-West. Behind the apparent relativism of "all cultures are equal" and "there is no better or worse" lies a clear proposition that in fact Western culture is inferior to all non-Western cultures and that non-Western cultures are better.

The relativism is more of a means by which the Leftist tries to achieve the reversal or overturning of Western hegemony, rather than an end (even if some few Leftists indulge in abstract wheel-spinning in this regard) -- closely related to the fact (resented by the Leftist and by the non-Western academic) that the West created the values of liberal progress which have come to dominate the world and which have become the unavoidable context of any discussion (or activist promotion) of moral values).

Thus, the Leftist may try to "deconstruct" the entire structure of values, since that structure is Western; but in the end, the Leftist cannot avoid availing himself of that same structure, for there is no other way to deconstruct it except through its own substance which sets the standard for what is right and wrong, and what is better and worse. The Leftist's project is thus mired in incoherence and paradox; but at bottom is his antipathy to his own West, which has nothing to do with "equality".

Hesperado said...

Cheradenine,

Interesting quote from Melanie Phillips about Robert Spencer. In fact, Spencer is correct, and his ex-Vice-President Hugh Fitzgerald has written often of the inadequacy and syndrome of anti-"Arab" locutions and how they reflect not only PC, but lingering effects of dhimmitude among those of provenance in the Dar-al-Islam.

On the other hand, I'm not sure who is more convoluted here: Melanie Phillips, who can't bring herself to be anti-Islam -- or Spencer, who has claimed adamantly with the stentorian tonality of a finger-jabbing having-sex-denying Clinton: "I am not 'anti-Islam'..."

I'd say Spencer is the more convoluted, since in this regard he is the more asymptotic, and as a rule, the more asymptotic a thinker, the more pretzelly his logical contortions become as he tries more and more to deny that he is against Islam and against all Muslims.

dood said...

And what if Melanie Phillips or anybody else thinks most Arabs to be "savages" and/or "morally depraved"? If Arabs are entitled to their heinous opinions of fellow Arabs and everybody else -- and trust me -- they are overflowing with hatred for everybody else -- then isn't Melanie Phillips, along with every other target of Arab hatred and incitement, entitled to their opinions about those tribal primitive Arabs?????

Zenster said...

Robert L.: A different way of putting Phillips' linking truth with ideology is to say that for the intelligentsia things like facts and truth are essentially projections of will, and as such are created, not discovered. [emphasis added]

This treatment of truth as being subjective hearkens back to my own connection of such behavior to Magical Thinking™:

Magical Thinking deludes folks into believing the world is exactly as they hope it to be. Dictionary.com defines magical thinking as…“a conviction that thinking is equivalent to doing, occurring in dreams, the thought patterns of children, and some types of mental disorders, esp. obsessive-compulsive disorder.” Leonard Zusne and Warren H. Jones, authors of “Anomalistic Psychology: A Study of Magical Thinking” write Magical Thinking is “a fundamental dimension of a child’s thinking.” [emphasis added]

When one considers the astounding degree of eyes-shut-tight with fingers stuffed in ears singing "Tra la la, I can't hear you!" behavior that modern media routinely displays, it become rather difficult not to assign the most puerile of motives to these ink-stained wretches.

No adult mind can continue to make such absurd assignations which are wholly in conflict with reality and maintain a shred of self-respect.

Then again, when one scrutinizes much of the Liberal Left's general behavior, lack of properly earned self-esteem quite often arises as a common denominator.

goethechosemercy: Which would you prefer?

Moral depravity or mockery of virtue?


Yes. As in, "Would you like some pie or cake?"

Why can't we simply assign both dysfunctions to these cretins and be done with it?

Robert L.: Correction re my earlier comment: the statement I quoted from Melanie Phillips, it turns out, is from a different interview on the same Israeli television show.

You had me wondering how I had managed to miss such a splendid zinger from Ms. Phillips.

“Western intelligentsia is signed up to a way of looking at the world which is what I would call 'ideological' – it’s to do with ideas. And long ago, it lost the idea, it lost the belief in truth. That there was such a thing as truth."

This returns to my premise that Magical Thinking™ underlies much of modern Liberal thought (or what passes for it).

The gymnastic contortions which Mainstream Media manages to make Truth perform constitute a veritable prostitute's Kama Sutra.

Bunglawala said he had also complained to the police about the column.

A final question revolves upon why hasn't Bunglawala been ridiculed out of existence solely on the basis of his preposterous last name? This Muslim slime bag is long overdue for a case of high velocity swift onset lead poisoning.

Zenster said...

dood: If Arabs are entitled to their heinous opinions of fellow Arabs and everybody else -- and trust me -- they are overflowing with hatred for everybody else -- then isn't Melanie Phillips, along with every other target of Arab hatred and incitement, entitled to their opinions about those tribal primitive Arabs?????

Generally, yes. Unless you happen to be one of those supremely pathetic individuals who are beneath all contempt and dignity.

Namely, White.

mace said...

Melanie Phillips doesn't seem to be outraged when Palestinian families are annihilated by Israeli bombs and missiles--why? Phillips is a Zionist propagandist with a despicable double standard.

Israel is fighting its colonial war for its own reasons that have nothing to do with resistance to Islamization.

Van Grungy said...

Mace,

We are all well aware that muslims use their women and children as cannon fodder.

Your trolling is fail.

Robert L. said...

Hesperado,

I essentially agree with you. Indeed, the Left is mired in incoherence and paradox. But this incoherence and paradox is precisely determined by their relativism (nihilism). The nub of the issue is this: Liberals simultaneously will argue for what is relative and for what they take to be true. To make a long story short, they affirm relativism is true. Precisely speaking, nobody is nihilist. No one can fully embrace nihilism. Rather, everyone is political. However, you can’t just go by what people say.

To the extent liberals don't sound like nihilists, they're simply politicizing nihilism. Or they're moralizing amorality. They're moralizing their politics which is predicated precisely on nihilist individuality- i.e., liberation from all constraints outside the will; liberation from any objective standard of good (natural or divine) that can guide the will.

The contemporary liberal who is actually insightful on all this stuff is the late Richard Rorty. He's more intelligent because he intellectualizes the nihilism that abounds in the contemporary West. Modern liberalism essentially says: "we know there is no right or wrong." The subtext of which is: all right and wrong, and all social roles, are historically based; are projections of historical will. Enter Rorty who says: "I want to dispense with whether something is true or false. I just want to talk about what's good or bad." And so Rorty actually writes that Nazism is no less true than his social democratic sensibilities (cf. Thomas G. West who discusses this in his excellent introduction to his Four Texts on Socrates). Rorty knows social democracy is no different, intellectually, than national socialism. He simply says, as he quite literally once said at a talk I attended years ago: "who wants to be a Nazi?" Ergo Rorty intellectually embraces the idea that the only thing that matters is will or instinct or feeling. It has no objective meaning or content. Rorty is therefore essentially an intellectual demagogue, because he simply tells passive, untutored, slavish people what they already think: "Feel good about your instincts or feelings."* But this is simply a dodge- Rorty is not fully embracing nihilism. If he were really honest he would have to actually intellectually embrace the politics of something like Nazism- not because Nazism is true, but rather, on the basis of his democratic slavishness, to actually see, not in some cast-off line in his writings, but to actually see the "truth" of something like Nazism. He can't have it both ways by saying "I'm going to deny that the good I seek is true, and that it's just will to power."

In nutshell, what this says is that, to put it in Nietzschean terms, no one except the superman can admit the truth of will to power, that there is no meaning in the world ("error is not blindness, error is cowardice"), that all "meaning" is just a projection of will.

----
* This is why, incidentally, at the close of Leo Strauss's Machiavelli essay in Studies in Platonic Political Philosophy, Strauss writes that, at the end of the day, Machiavelli has more in common with Socrates than otherwise meets the eye because neither are deluded about the powers of rhetoric. They both understood that belief in the omnipotence of rhetoric is sophistry. Which is to say the political qua political is ultimately about "cracking the whip," about shaping people's souls, and even ultimately about war, not rhetoric or dialogue and trying to "convince" people thereby.

Zenster said...

mace: Melanie Phillips doesn't seem to be outraged when Palestinian families are annihilated by Israeli bombs and missiles--why?

One simple question should clear all of this up right away.

mace, if the "Palestinians" ended their terrorist attacks on Israel, would the IDF continue military operations against them?

Then ask yourself the corollary question: If the IDF discontinued all military operations against them, would the Palestinians put a halt to their terrorist attacks against Israel?

The Israelis have made every imaginable concession to the "Palestinians" in an attempt to obtain peace. It is more than a little clear that the only "peace" to be had with the "Palestinians" is the "peace of the grave".

Now ask yourself; which side is capable of supplying that in the greatest quantity? Israel had displayed almost saintly restraint in their treatment of the "Palestinians".

Israel's best option is to give advance notice and then walk artillery fire through both Gaza and the West Bank in order to flush their respective populations into the Sinai and Jordan.

There will never be any peace so long as the "Palestinians" dwell within Israel's well-deserved and hard won borders.

Zenster said...

PS: Robert L., two words:

Paragraph. Breaks.

You New said...

Robert L

I don't remember you hanging out in this neighborhood. Excellent and thoughtful posts. Hope you keep 'em coming.

Hesperado said...

Robert L.,

Let's put it this way:

When Leftists declaim about any given topic except Muslims, they tend to invoke relativism.

When the topic of Muslims and Islam comes up, suddenly Leftists become absolutists.

mace said...

Zenster,

As with invaders everywhere, the Zionists are justifiably resisted by the indigenous population. So, if the 'settler' carpetbaggers stop stealing Paletinian land, most of the violence would end. However, the Zionist project is not finished and since Israel has most of the firepower the colonial war will continue.
You appear to recommend 'ethnic cleansing',I hope I've misunderstood.
Israel is a tainted 'ally', rather like apartheid South Africa during the Cold War.

Israel's borders are not 'well-deserved' and most of the hardship has been inflicted on the Palestinians.

latté island said...

Mace, Israel's borders are well-deserved, because they acquired new territory in defensive wars. They've tried many times to trade the land for peace, but the others have never honored a contract.

South Africa is a poor example of a "tainted" ally. History has vindicated the old South Africa. If you're not up to speed on that, try reading some South African news. Things are so bad there, even some black people say openly that they were better off under apartheid.

Egghead said...

Mace: How do you feel about Muslims conducting violent ethnic cleansing of Christians from the Middle East, Asia, and Africa?

What about the Coptic Christians?

What about the Lebanese Christians?

What about the Iranian Christians?

Etc.