The Hijab and the Regressive Left’s Absurd Campaign to Betray Freethinking Women

Dec 8, 2016

By Jeffrey Tayler

The first woman in a hijab to anchor a television news broadcast!  To dance as a ballerina!  To fence in the Olympics!  To — cue for gasps at the sheer progressive splendor of the moment — pose in Playboy!

Headlines proclaiming such “firsts” — performed by Muslim women living, nota bene, in the United States and Canada — have appeared often in the press over the past couple of years. Surely by now you’ve seen them.  The associated coverage is frequently gushing, but when it is not, it is not probing, and certainly not critical.  It is, in fact, part and parcel of the regressive left’s insidious attempt at brainwashing well-meaning liberals into lauding what should be, in our increasingly diverse societies, at best a neutral fact: freedom of speech means freedom of religion.  Women should be free to dress as they please.  Some Muslim women wear hijabs and are the first to do so in various endeavors.

By no means does freedom of religion, however, confer on religion or religious customs exemptions from criticism, satire, or even derision.  The American revolutionary Thomas Paine, among others, established that.  Too much is at stake.  Unsupported by evidence, at odds with science, and frequently deleterious to the common good, religion and its attendant customs deserve intense, sustained rationalist scrutiny.  Our fellows, of course, are free to base their lives on ancient claptrap ideologies entailing uncritical acceptance of absurdities (talking snakes, virgin births, flying horses, and so on), but they should not expect the rest of us to ignore or let pass without comment the intrusion of said claptrap into the public arena.  In the United States, for example, the faith-addled — though, thankfully, dwindling in number — use their votes to the detriment of, inter alia, reproductive rights, the right to die with dignity, and public education. With religion losing its grip on the young, progressives of all ages need to seize the initiative and speak out.  The established trend is toward nonbelief.

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81 comments on “The Hijab and the Regressive Left’s Absurd Campaign to Betray Freethinking Women

  • So you cover your genitals in public, Mr. Taylor, and many religious Muslim women cover their hair and sometimes their face. I think I will ridicule you and criticize you for your puritanism. Why hide your genitals? That comes from religion! (Not just about hygiene.—Remember the fig leaf? Covering ourselves with clothes, in the Western world, can be looked upon as a partial product of mythology and Christian puritanism.) You are repressed too and don’t even know it. And stop saying “regressive left.” The left has a hard enough time as it is; the world is losing its affection for liberalism, and progressives don’t need more labels and denigration.

    You are reaching no one. Orthodox Jews wear yamakas, Muslim women wear what they wear, Christians and atheists wear clothes.

    Criticism and ridicule has its place, and I’d like to see an end to ignorance, superstition, domination, and suppression of women’s (and children’s) mental freedom too – but if you want to help these people who you regard as victims, why not try to understand why religion is true for them; empathy, sensitivity, and real thought and real study, and above all, engagement with people who don’t think like we do, is required.

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  • Not sure that I agree with you Dan.

    Surely the objection to Islamic dress codes for women is that they are self-segregating, highly sexist, by demeaning men, in that they are designed to minimise the uncontrollable passions which men experience when they see a woman’s hair, demeaning to women in that they regard them as primarily useful only as producers of lustful thoughts in the superior sex.

    They limit women’s freedom to project their own sexuality, and by implication, to respond candidly to male sexuality. Finally, to return to my first point, embedded in self-segregation is the self-perception of moral superiority over the rest of us: in every encounter with a kaffir, they are the Elect, the possessors of the moral and religious Truth, the Righteous of God. There is a sneer in their demeanor.

    Not the sort of society in which I want to live.

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  • …empathy, sensitivity, and real thought and real study, and above
    all, engagement with people who don’t think like we do, is required.

    Greetings, Dan!

    I think the author refers to the “regressive left” as those who are unwilling to do exactly what you recommend. Also known as SJWs (social justice warriors), they have agendas that leave zero wiggle room for deviation.

    I’m not sure they are as much a threat as the alt-right, but I guarantee they do not improve dialogue on any issue.

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  • Hi Dan,

    I agree with some of what you say but am troubled by two parts of my conscience here. I thinks France’s approach to this has been wrong headed. Women should be free to choose to wear what they like (within reason – and that’s the rub here I suppose). Having said that I also am untroubled by the uncritical look at this by the media. I watched a panel show here in which this issue came up and not one of the left leaning panelists was prepared to question those in support of the Burka. Which essentially is a clothing item designed to stop men from being pushed into sin by having to view women. I’ve thought a bit about what I would say to women who I agree should have the right to wear a burka if they choose (with certain reservations about practical situations where genuine security implications should probably hold sway).

    First I am working on the assumption here that I assume you agree with that some proportion of Muslim women in the west are forced to wear the burka either through extreme social pressure or through direct physical threat.

    I would suggest that women who claim in the media that they wear a burka (now I may have my terms confused here I’m thinking the full head to toe covering, slit for the eyes etc.) should be prepared to explain (when public discussions on the media are raising this – I wouldn’t advocate hassling random women) why they do not choose to show solidarity to their sisters who are forced to wear the burka both in the West and overseas. I’d acknowledge their right to wear the burka but I don’t think the sexist attitudes that have spawned this particular fashion accessory should go unchallenged.

    Be interested in your response, I’m not sure I’m right on this but can’t think of a flaw in this approach so far.

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  • 5
    Cairsley says:

    The hijab is a shawl of a certain style that covers the head and shoulders and leaves the face visible. It is not much different from shawls and scarves that have been in regular use among Western women for centuries and still are worn by them in some parts of the Western world. There is no reason to object to the wearing of the hijab, unless one is prejudiced against Middle Easterners.

    What is, I think, objectionable is the wearing of garments (the burqa and the niqab) that cover the wearer’s face and allow her to see only through slits or gauze. That is an objective suppression of a woman’s right to take her place in society, not to mention her right as a human adult to choose for herself how to dress herself from the great range of fashions and styles now available. She is certainly entitled and perhaps very wise to dress modestly, and the hijab fits that purpose very well. But she owes it to herself and to her fellow citizens to present herself in society as the clearly identifiable individual that she is, and this necessitates that her face be visible. There is no justification, even in the Koran and the Hadith, for requiring women to cover their faces in public. The only women who would insist on wearing the burqa or the niqab are those who have internalized their status as inferior versions of humans to men, lacking even the right to a public identity and the freedoms and responsibilities that go therewith.

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  • Dan. I can see your point that the wearing of clothes is culturally defined and flouting the mores of your community can incur formal and imformal censure and punishment.
    If I were to walk out in the street naked I’d quickly find myself under lock and key (witness what has happened to this guy here). To a certain extent that comes from our irrational subconscious fear of our own sexuality. Its pretty obvious when you consider few people object to naked infants but get bothered by the sight of adults.
    There might be an argument that clothes developed out of a need for hygiene and comfort as much as religion btw.

    However, the scale of this irrationality is far far greater in the Islamic world than the west. Muslim women are not even supposed to make eye contact with male non-relatives and must be chaparoned when in public. The veil is restrictive and curtails many of lives pleasures for these women in the way that being forced to wear shorts simply doesn’t. Can you imagine how uncomfortable it must be to wear the burka for hours on end?
    The simple truth is that by doing this the culture puts men and women in an asymmetrical position with men having almost complete control over the lives of women learning from an early age that they are simply put, more important in their culture and reinforces the image of women as untrustworthy prizes waiting to be scooped up and dishonoured by opportunist men.

    Of course Christianity was in a similar place before ideas about the enlightenment took hold and I maintain we should do our upmost to promote those ideals. This isn’t moral relativism, one is demonstrably more harmful then the other.

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  • So you cover your genitals in public, Mr. Taylor, and many religious Muslim women cover their hair and sometimes their face. I think I will ridicule you and criticize you for your puritanism.
    I wrote a bit of an addendum to my contribution #2, but I was too slow submitting it.

    The rules relating to modesty in the West are for the most part the result of secular, societal mediation, not religious precept. They are relative to time, place, occasion and personal taste. For instance work attire is generally expected to be not very revealing, a small bit of shoulder or cleavage is fine, but non troppo.

    At a nightclub much more body may be shown, on a beach even more, and, as in my hippy youth, even more on a nudist beach. In terms of body exposure the rules for men are, perhaps surprisingly, considerably stricter, particularly in a working environment. In Australia I was once told off at work (in a tech college) for wearing sandals, as the required dress standard demanded long socks and dress shoes with shorts. It was a stinking hot day and I pointed out that all the female staff were wearing sandals and I never heard about it again. Even on the beach women can wear iny swimsuits, but people complain about men wearing speedos.

    Within the tacitly agreed parameters there is a great deal of flexibility, in terms of the style and modesty-level of the clothing. It is correctly seen that people have a right to project their personalities through clothing, or lack of same. Though there may be mild social censure from time to time (remember Jean Shrimpton at the Melbourne Cup?), generally it is accepted that dress style and to a large extent modesty, are the wearer’s own business.

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  • To all:

    I am not sure what we’re even discussing. I wrote what I wrote quickly, and I was trying to say something. Are we talking about Sharia law? That I am against, obviously.

    Orthodox Jews aren’t much better than Muslims. They can’t even fuck, for God’s sake, and the women have to cover every part of their body. Am I going to get involved in their customs? Why should I and to what end? People can be whatever they fucking want.

    I don’t know exactly what an SJW is, Vicki. Nor am I as intimately acquainted with the so-called regressive left as others are. Fascism is much more likely to come from the Right.

    The danger we face is from the hard or ultra right and down the road WE Americans, if we continue down this path, will become increasingly nationalistic and, if the laws are violated and the separation of church and state suffers (like in Ohio with this new bill), will become no less exclusive and oppressive than those we criticize. See my last comment on the Fake News thread, if you wish to.

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  • Number 1 — what the hell is “the regressive left”? I mean, HUH?

    Number 2 — and much more important: Freedom means freedom. These women have the freedom in my world to wear what they’d like. I wonder, really if the are only free in my world and most certainly NOT free in their own?

    Number 3 — and most important. They have the freedom, in my world to dress as they desire. They do NOT have the freedom from questions, stares, glares, and/or people who are free to feel uneasy around people who hide their identity. They do NOT have freedom from the consequences of their decision to wear what they wear. Think the KKK. Is a white sheet ok?

    I’m all out of numbers — but, this has a parallel in the gun argument. Guns are not a problem. The number of guns is not a problem. UNLESS, a societal red flag is thrown up regarding the safety of the citizens and there is evidence that a danger exists. If you are afraid of a gun sitting on a table, you may be a little too sensitive. If you are afraid of an asshole shooting randomly into a crowd… well, you have a point. The women who decide (if there actually is a decision) to wear this are free to do so. Not free from the future situation that could evolve where concealing an identity is helping people do the wrong thing. Until then, this is a non-issue.

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  • Mr. DNA,

    Yes, I see all your points – and I already said that wearing clothes (and I was being a tad jocular) has a practical aspect in addition to a religious one). What I was reacting to was this mantra on the part of articles coming out of Quillette: regressive, left. regressive left… It irritates me. The world is losing its affection for liberalism. I fear that Trump and his advisers are really seeking to dismantle the government and create a Social Darwinian world which is unsustainable, and the height of madness and barbarism.

    And there is already so much hatred and intolerance, of Muslims, of foreigners, of the Other. What is the solution? I am sure that it must be uncomfortable, as you said, to have to dress like that, and clearly these is pervasive sexism in many countries, including the US, by the way. But what is the solution? I was suggesting, in my usual incoherent fashion, that if we want to promote equality we must realize that there is extremism in all religions, and irrationality and inequality in most cultures, and that liberation is something that many oppressed people cannot even conceive of. How to raise the consciousness of those that we believe are being oppressed, make them aware that there is even a problem – that is the question. It is analogous to Marx’s lumpenproletariat, who are not even desirous of their own “liberation”, their own advancement. Women’s liberation (which is liberation for all), must be organic.

    In the mean time we must, as I said, accept others and try to employ empathy, try to understand why this lifestyle and belief system is true for them (the women – not just the man), rather than just condemn from without. Cairsley, there is no rational justification for a lot of things. It’s no fun facing that but that’s just the way it is. Apples and oranges, but The US has supported dictators and has committed atrocities and the worst crimes under international law. So what should we do, ridicule and deride? The Left has excelled at that and look where we are now. (I wrote something on the brain thread, btw. I am not too focused on the brain. On the contrary.)

    Crooked, that makes sense, although I am not as tolerant of guns as you are. Yes knives are lethal too, as is a chair thrown at full force. I have never understood the 2nd Amendment; we don’t form militias anymore. And easy access to military use firearms allows these ISIS inspired mad people, and psychos in general, to perpetrate, easily perpetrate, unimaginable carnage.

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  • No-one should be telling people what to wear. Legislating convention is ……well…bonkers….no…its pathetic.

    If someone is being bullied into wearing things they don’t want then existing laws should be used for their protection and the state should protect its citizens from bullying communities and un-elected non-legal community leaders.

    Now, more importantly…

    Wake up! The regressive left is a thing. Hitchens spotted it back in 2006. It is hugely damaging to the folk promoting our specific concerns. Read the wiki regressive left article to understand how besieged we here are in trying to bring reason into the public space, with attacks from the regressive (lets all try to be nice and just get along…sorry Marayam Namazie you’ll just have to STFU and let Sharia tribunals steal the freedoms of young women) left and its unreasonable co-opting by the right in an attempt to poison our efforts.

    Watch this and quit whining-

    I will happily re-run how these disabling over emotional under-reasoned folk smiling and wishing happiness and joy, fuck us over time and time again. Its simple enough psychlogy. Empathy is great but its no substitute for our own invention of symapthy, empathy’s intellectual and reasoned sister.

    They want me behaved.

    I want them promoting tolerance.

    They want me respecting communities.

    I want them respecting people.

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  • Phil,

    Not sure who you’re addressing. Anyhoo—

    I don’t want to look a the video, but I believe you. Why call it the left, though? Why not just call it something else? How about just “stupid” – without Left or Right attached to it? Libertarianism used to appeal to leftists (in the 20s?) but the I wouldn’t call them leftists today. Why not just call these people you’re concerned about something else? We are confused enough as it is. Is there a movement on the Right soon to be called the Progressive Right? Everything is getting turned on its head. That is very bad.

    (And defending Sharia is not a leftist position. Neither is defending the free market.)

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  • I’m addressing everyone, Dan. Anyone.

    Not a single person accused of being part of the regressive left complains about the left bit, only the regressive bit. Recognise where it came from.

    The real failure is that they are the well intention Hyper Pro Social. The Right don’t do hyper pro social. Find me a super empath of the right.

    Come on, Dan. That the left is always good and the right always bad is dogmatis.

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  • Phil,

    That the left is always good and the right always bad is dogmatic.

    Of course!! This is me you’re talking to. I’m no simpleton.—You know that. Come on. I couldn’t agree more with the statement above! Phil, I am sure your concerns about the ‘regressive left” are entirely reasonable. I probably just don’t know as much as you do about the regressive left. I am sure they’re awful.

    I am very preoccupied now with this sickening and terrifying Trump situation, and I tend to get a little defensive when people criticize the left.—Especially now. I am so worried about the Right right now; I can’t help it.

    I think we can put this to rest now. The extreme left is as insidious as the extreme right. Totalitarianism can come from either side.

    Kind Regards,


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  • 16
    Cairsley says:

    Dan #10
    . . . Cairsley, there is no rational justification for a lot of things. It’s no fun facing that but that’s just the way it is. . . .

    Hello, Daniel. I take it you are there referring to my assertion that “[t]here is no justification, even in the Koran and the Hadith, for requiring women to cover their faces in public.” Please note that I did not say ‘rational justification’, since the religious authorities referred to do not rely on reason to justify anything. It helps the cause of freeing women in traditional Middle Eastern, North African and South Asian societies from such a form of ages-old cultural oppression as covering the face in public if it is made clear that such a practice is not required by the authoritative texts of the dominant religion in those societies.

    It is best if I do not comment on the USA just now, but I assure you who have to live there of my sympathy. Feel free to call by for tea any time you like, but preferably around four o’clock. Mind you, as you mentioned, the USA has behaved atrociously in so many parts of the world in the last fifty or more years that many non-Americans find it hard to pity that crazy, conceited country lurching ever more out of order and becoming ever more dysfunctional. For goodhearted Americans such as those who frequent these pages it must be awful at present to live in such a corrupt, arrogant and murderous country. Leader of the free world? I think not.

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  • Burka on a western street looks like an insult to me. Like motorcycle helmets, balaclavas, KKK cones, hockey and ski masks, not appropriate for strolling on the street. Can’t get into a bank without showing an identifiable face, I support any secular motion to ensure that our streets are not occupied by Unidentifiables. Being Unidentifiable is Probable Cause, for law enforcement to stop and check and charge a fee (or a fine) for the service, and required to head onwards minus the face-obscuring item. Repeat offenders need a home visit.

    What specifically rankles me is the group on the street, women (I presume) in “traditional” concealing garb, accompanied by their menfolk in denim jeans and sweatshirts or brand-name jackets. To accept the “tradition” excuse, the guys should man up and discard the comfy convenient trendy western attire and get into their granddaddy’s Lawrence of Arabia costumes. One law for the male, one for the female? Yes, that’s a tradition in many places, and one we should be glad to oppose, first by preventing its spread, then by rolling it back to whence it came. I don’t mean sending the people back, just the “tradition”, and it’s promoters.

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  • Cairsley,

    Good post, although I didn’t understand the part about the practice “not being required by the dominant religions.”

    Too bad the UK is no longer part of the EU. I can and will, through my mother, obtain dual citizenship. London would have been my first choice.

    Tea sounds fine. Can Phil join us or is three a crowd?

    America did produce Henry Miller and jazz and… moi.—So it does have its redeeming aspects.


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  • Jeffrey Tayler’s polemic is directed principally against the harmful teachings and practices of Islam objecting emotionally to the hijab as a symbol of commitment to that toxic faith by the Muslim woman who wears it. Clearly he is not protesting a headscarf or a woman’s right to wear modest clothes. (The veil and the Burka raise other issues at the extreme). We fear Islamists, distinguished from assimilated Muslims socialized with secular humanist ethics for good reason. We watch the news, listen and read. The Islamist nurses intolerance of infidels morphing easily into hatred and from that flashpoint into anti-social behavior in western societies. We know this and flinch reflexively when we see a man or woman in traditional Muslim costume. They may be perfectly decent people or…?

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  • Hi Dan

    America has – or had – so many redeeming aspects, that’s part of the reason we are so disappointed with how it’s been developing of late.

    “Of late” being (approximately) since Reagan, though it might be since JFK. Or Eisenhower.

    “We” being the rest of the world that doesn’t actually want to hate you all, but is getting increasingly tired of making excuses for you (to ourselves, not to the remaining rest of the world, that has no such inhibitions).

    Thanks for the Chomsky quotes, right on the money.

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  • Eejit #2, others

    I agree with everything you said. I am simply raising questions. Not liking something or not wanting to be a part of that society is all well and good, and perfectly reasonable – but how does one get the women who we know are being oppressed to know it themselves and then revolt? I have listened to some of these women and they are completely indoctrinated. It is frightening and depressing to listen to them defend their own degradation. We cannot use mind control or somehow will them to become enlightened. They have to want it. As I said, it’s like the lumpenproletariat, unaware of their own self-imprisonment. So I was suggesting too that judging, and ridiculing, and criticizing, won’t do very much for them.

    (How do we get religious people here and in Europe not to oppress us?)

    These are large questions. I don’t think doing noting and having faith that things over time will change automatically is the answer. Whatever the answer is it eludes me at the moment. Education? That’s the usual reply. That’s one answer. Many religious fanatics are well educated, however. Laurie and Phil, on a previous thread, said something about the media. (We were going to get a soap opera over to these places: “Days of our Secular Lives.”) Many countries now have access to the internet and to the Western media, and didn’t in the past. That might help them to see what they’re missing.

    Maybe we can send social workers and psychologists over there. That would be good. Not sure how that would work out. You have to recognize that you have a problem first.

    How to change society.—That is a question that for me keeps coming up. I keep hitting a wall too.

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  • O’Hool,

    Security requirements should always be applied when truly needed, banks, airports, during security alerts, and in these days of purchased higher education the educators should be allowed terms and conditions that excuse reduced performance because of reduced intercommunication between tent and teacher, etc., etc..

    But legislating for your feelings is not the tolerance we need to demand reciprocal tolerance.

    I will judge a society the better, the more it can bear to tolerate and the simpler and less petty its laws.

    There are bigger changes to society needed than to legislate convention. This latter is the Geert Wilders way of “change phobia”. This is a pale reflection of religious restrictive dogma. Besides, primary principles are needed to be addressed and slapping band-aids here and there is a distraction with disabling consequences.

    The real job is to stop the state treating communities as somehow quasi-legal entities able to speak for individuals. The state should seek to make all communities permeable so that all folk can be addressed as individuals given support and made aware of their state rights, services and obligations. I also believe that children should be supported in their rights as individuals to health, physical and mental, and an enabling education securing their adult autonomy.

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  • @OHooligan #17

    Yes, I’ve had the basic premise explained to me thus. Muslim women if they show any flesh will make the men desire them and bring them into sin, hence women must cover up to avoid men being subjected to their base desires. However women seem not to have to worry about being brought in sin by looking at that nice arse in those tight jeans. apparently they do not feel desire.

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  • @Reckless

    apparently they do not feel desire

    Thats why they need to have the clitoris removed. Unfortunately for that thesis, it’s a much larger organ than previously imagined.


    Not wanting legislation to enforce my feelings, except, we must never be required to tolerate intolerance. Security requirements are everywhere, not just at airports. I want to walk down the street with my family and friends and not be at risk from anyone. And usually I am. The greatest danger here continues to be the texting driver running a red light or pedestrian crossing, and I watch out for them. Unidentifiable people I find offensive, a subtle threat. I’ve heard others worrying about child-snatching, abduction, what if there’s a bunch of tent-clad individuals and you can’t ID anyone. Never saw that myself. Shoplifting, however, is another matter. It must be easy in those tents. I heard of a shoplifter with a fake pregnancy bump for hiding the swag, so it’s hard to cover all angles. Thieves exist among all cultures.

    I just watched The Big Short, thank you for the reference. Excellently presented.

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  • O’Hool.

    Glad you liked the movie.

    I don’t understand the intolerance issue.

    Your anxieties about child snatching etc. don’t chime with me in any way.

    I do see reasons to take offence, though, and I do. Such clothing brands me as a rapist.

    Worse though is not the woman dressed in bondage gear, but what it says of her husband. It announces him as not requiring self control of men. It is promoting Rapism as the natural condition of men.

    Women, even as happy masochists are not to be feared. They are to be tolerated and to feel at every turn unthreatened, pitied for their bondage, mind-forged or actual. But their menfolk are shamed mightily, mightily, by it.

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  • Dan #14

    I think we can put this to rest now.

    This will be my third or fourth attempt to get you to see the immediate and vital importance of understanding this issue and why the vote went wrong.

    The regressive left are the caricature of the Left the alt right hold up to those on the broad right. (The alt right poses as the new, clever right, not just economics obsessed like libertarians, oh and more right.) Until the regressive left is brought to task (by the likes of you and me) for their unacceptable emotional shallowness, the left, a decent pragmatic and evidence based left, cannot flourish.

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  • Until the regressive left is brought to task (by the likes of you and

    Help me, Phil. How?!

    Attempts either get buried in the cacophony or escalate into name-calling shouting matches.

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  • We buried mum on the 7th. She did not cover up but she had a strong belief in god and many confusing Cypriot/Turkish (and even a few Cypriot/Greek ones thrown in) and wanted to be buried in a muslim cemetery with the usual prayers. Not something I could opt out of and having spent the last three months looking after mum 24/7 between my two sisters and my brother ( mum did not have a very good last three months), I felt I needed to be there for them and provide support. The cemetery is, we surmised and will look into it further now, owned by Pakistanis and I think might have only received permission and building rights if they were open to all muslim denominations (again to be verified?). The hodca/hodja was Turkish Cypriot but the rules of burial is in the Pakistani camp. I stood by my dads side as he could not stand for the prayers and I would not join the prayer. Whilst my dad went through the motions sitting down, I did not join in and got some dirty looks from the two young Pakistani helpers of the Hodca. They got a stern look back from me. I got very angry near the end as the hodca took five minutes telling everyone how to pray..’when I say this, you do that’, etc…

    When we got to the grave side, the women were told that they were not allowed to witness the lowering into the grave and the initial covering and most were very angry at that but were told by the two helpers that is how it is in the koran in their essex accents and all the women stayed behind. Laurie has described how she bravely took over the proceedings but I have to admit I felt powerless and could only provide support for my father and my siblings. I have come to realise that the task of moving the family along is weighted very heavily on the women of the family and is up to them to say, we will not cover our heads or sit behind a screen at prayers and I want to be beside the grave when my own mother is being lowered down.

    We have had three nights of mevlit since then and again, my role was to provide support and run around as much as I was needed. Those teas don’t make themselves etc.. One particular religious prick, my brother-in-laws nephew-in law, a slime ball, took offence at me crossing my legs whilst the prayer was being said in another room with only women in. Not wanting to do his own dirty work, he asked my brother-in-law to tell me to uncross them. I did because it was my he that asked but not without giving this other prick a look that made him look down pretty fast. I went out and had another cup of Turkish tea, another sin whilst the prayer is going on, when calmer, I went back in, crossed my legs, crossed my arms and with one hand, surfed the Net on my phone. After the prayer when food was being eaten, I crossly asked my sister (the other is a lost cause) and my nieces, one of whom is gay) why they where putting up with all this shit and they explained they also felt that had to do it but it did nothing to calm me down when their whole persona changed when they covered their heads with scarves. One woman said that if it was her mother she would have pushed her way to the grave but am not sure she would have wanted to disrupt the whole ceremony ( and I got the impression that the two helpers would have refused to bury mum had that happened?). Last night, the prick (described above) started off by saying we men should not talk while the prayer is going on in the next room and all the men went silent. I got up and served myself some food and sat there in front of him knowing I had committed yet another sin. He left, that evening, without the usual kisses and hugs. Never enjoyed a hug from a slug anyway. His wife, who I only saw just as the prayers started that evening, refused to get me the first night because she had already covered her head.

    Someone above has already described the customs and traditions that hold people in an embrace that is stronger than the religion itself. That is what I have seen this time around and two muslims religions clashed along with the atheist in me. I wished I had a Laurie in my family to help but although some ‘get’ me, tradition will nt let them be.

    Edit: For me, the image above is offensive but I do force myself to remember the, maybe, strong woman underneath but as a contradiction to common sense.

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  • Vicki, #27

    A great question. I think I need to put my thoughts in a series of posts to best cover this.

    First, of course, is the recognition that the Left needs rehabilitation, then, bringing more reason (and being seen to bring more reason) to the young but not so savvy SJW left, and then a PR job to bring back much of the centre ground. The young and savvy centre aren’t the problem. The older and less educated centre are where new Democratic voter riches may lie.

    I’m currently reading Sanders’ new book, delighted by the absence of an ideological gleam in his eye, the simple pragmatism of his solutions and able to work without the least hint of SJW groupist evangelism. Let me read a little more and gather my own thoughts.

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  • Olgun

    I’m so, so sorry to hear about your mom. You’ve had a terrible time and I wish I could give you a hug. I know very well that there aren’t words to really comfort you right now. People say things that end up aggravating us when in grief and I know how that is. When my dad died in April I just kept telling myself, in a whisper, that they mean well but their brains have been hijacked and they can’t think themselves out of it. They are worried about me and frightened of death as part of their indoctrination. Some of the things these people said are now overlooked and ignored but some funerals, like that of your mom, that have a Muslim majority of attendees are much more difficult than what I had to contend with this year. I really don’t see how you could have done things any differently than what you did. These severely indoctrinated people are very aggressive at these funerals. And really, this all happens just when we are in a state of emotional freefall, crushed with grief and completely disoriented. This is how they take full advantage.

    Did anyone even ask your opinion on how the funeral should go? I’ll bet they just plowed ahead with their typical funeral rituals and never even thought that you would like to do something different for your mom. This is how it goes. Every time I speak up and announce an opinion that runs contrary to the standard procedure it sends shock waves through the flock of sheep. Much bleating and whimpering etc. You know how that goes.

    I know you are fuming angry right now and I’ve been there so many times too. I’ve had to blast a few people for their rude interference in the months after dad’s funeral. I know there are some who are tarring me as an infidel behind my back and I won’t forgive them ever. But I hope you can make your peace with your poor deluded family members, you know, for the good of the tribe. Don’t think your opinions expressed that day went unheard. There must be any number of young people there who watched you stand up for freethinking. The young people may even let you know later, privately, that they support you. It’s too scary for them to go against the super pious when all out in force like at a funeral. Even the wishy washy fence sitters will hold this memory and as time goes by they will notice others criticizing dogma and at some point this all can add up to enough scorn for them to strike out on their own. With our young people I state flat out that they don’t have to go along with religious claptrap and that I’ll always support them if they run into trouble.

    Sometimes people just don’t have the orneriness or oppositional nature or call it what you want, to question things like rituals that have been carried over through the ages. When I speak at these funerals, I know that attendees are very surprised to see me up there running things and writing and delivering the eulogies. Even regular American family and friends tell me that they don’t know how I can do that or they say that they thought it was the best funeral they’ve been to, etc. The Muslims though are flat out shocked at the sight of a female at the graveside running the show. Strangely, the Muslim men in attendance don’t say much to me about it but the women including conservative hejabis always get me aside and tell me that they think I’m brave and that it was a great thing to talk only about the deceased and their life and what the person meant to us all. I’m not thinking that they will go back to their own families and change things up to avoid the impersonal dull stupid prayers and segregation but they saw it done a better way and they took note of it and now they’ve seen a woman run a Muslim funeral and I didn’t crumble into a pool of tears and have to be carried out. They know it can be done and that the stoic men don’t have the right to segregate them out of the proceedings.

    Making these changes in our families is a long slow process. I’m pushing with mine as hard as I think I can get away with but there have been set backs with some of the young people that have really discouraged me. We have the Canadian-Algerian niece who wears full hejab even as her parents, us, and her five Algerian-American cousins argue with her till they’re blue in the face. Still others have realized that I’m running interference for them and they sprang up and threw off their mind chains in full view of everyone. I guess that’s what makes this all worth it.

    Ah well our dear Olgun, you have weeks and months ahead of you to sort out all of the anger and sadness and good and bad memories that these deaths and funerals bring. Eight months later I still get upset when I think about my dad. I don’t know if this will get better or maybe it’s the new normal. But anyways, welcome to the walking wounded and something that I’ve been thinking about is that I wonder if the fact that we have no religious beliefs makes the mourning period shorter but more intense. Even though I had a terrible crash and burn in the days after his death, I pretty quickly came around to a state of sad acceptance and noticed that the religious bunch were still anesthetizing themselves with talk about how he “wasn’t really gone” and “he’s with so-and-so in a beautiful place next to God” etc. I really think they took longer to come around to the reality of the situation, that is, the person I love is gone for good and not coming back and there’s a huge hole in my life where they used to be. It’s just the bizarre truth that a person can be so much a part of our life one day and then poof, they vanish. It’s so jarring and devastating that I can almost understand why the religious people withdraw into their fantasy fairy tale worlds to hide from the grueling reality of death.

    Way too long winded as usual. Hope you’re ok.

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  • To Olgun my deepest sympathies for your loss. You were fortunate to have your mother with you for so many years.

    In my view the practice of Islam, Judaism, Catholicism in their orthodox or pious form is going through an irreversible process of collapse in the 21st century. The older generations socialized in the religious traditions of their ancestor are passing in far greater numbers than the upcoming younger generations who are replacing them. Cultural belief systems, norms, and customs change over time as the peer groups that support them leave the social scene to be replaced by younger peer groups who adopt more “pleasant” practices that better serve their interests, needs and purposes. Nothing stays static in history incessantly worked on by the infinite creativity of the human mind.

    Young folks in the vast majority, inhibited less and less by self-conscious retrograde minorities, are embracing modern life styles conferring benefits and pleasures unimaginable to people just 100 years ago. Doubled life expectancy, expanded leisure, travel and recreation time funded by rising discretionary income, birth control, mobility, sexual freedom, labor-saving automation, computers and social media have transformed lives into an engagement with consumerism away from the grinding mandates of manual labor, obedience-to-authority, and austerity at the core of traditional institutions. Taking liberties with a hedonistic meme: Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll will spell doom for the medieval Burka and Clitoridectomy.

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  • Phil, others (Please read.)

    “This will be my third or fourth attempt to get you to see the immediate and vital importance of understanding this issue and why the vote went wrong.” —P.R.

    The vote? I don’t understand that. Clinton lost the vote primarily because she did not campaign enough in the rust belt states or address the needs of the working class. She had a stronger case to make than that liar Trump, but was content to rely on the voters in the cities which she knew she had. I still have no clear idea who the regressive left is and why you are so up in arms about them!! Do they wear signs like pins or tee-shirts? I meet all kinds of people: stupid, not stupid, etc. Who are they?

    Tillerson (Exxon CEO with strong business ties to Putin) was named Sec. of State. A rabid psychopathic war-monger named Bolton will be his deputy. Prewitt, in charge of the EPA, has sued the EPA numerous times and will deregulate. I can’t bare it.

    Olgun, I am sorry to hear about your loss.— I offer you my heartfelt condolences.

    (I am sick of Islam, sick of Christianity, sick of politics, and stupid people, sick of it all. I also admit that I don’t know what the point of this thread is. I thought I did. Hijab bad. Repression and domination bad. So I asked an asinine question: what does one do about it?—A bad question.)

    Phil, why this horror of radicalism? The center is a good place to be – where it is less hot. The two ends of the pole are too hot; but sometimes radicalism is an appropriate response to radical evil. Sometimes a radical position is the most pragmatic position, and the only moral position, to take. The center cannot hold, as Yeats said. Not always to be relied upon. I hope it does hold.

    Phil, I had to look at this shit just now. Someone sent me this on the Fake News thread today. I don’t mind; it’s interesting. But It reminds me of you and others a little: you see how he’s blurring two different things and making them one. In fact he goes further: makes the left seem like the real enemies of freedom, and the right the liberators. That’s fascist. Please read, but let me first remind you of what I said above (comment 12): “Libertarianism used to appeal to leftists (in the 20s?) but the I wouldn’t call them leftists today. Why not just call these people you’re concerned about something else? We are confused enough as it is. Is there a movement on the Right soon to be called the Progressive Right? Everything is getting turned on its head. That is very bad.”

    Hey Dan

    I’m French. For your information the most far-right government we never had since decades is our current left (socialist) one. The one talking like your (last) Bush about Middle East and so-called “terrorist” are our first minister and president fighting against the devil (Valls, Holland, both socialist). The FN has absolutely no control on the country. We live in left government, which voted for a police state. Since the left came we lost our (limited) freedom of speech. People get arrested for their opinion (even kids). Trump won because the so-called “left’ is full of people like you who are manichaeist, and believe they are the good one and never learn to question themselves. A manichaeist from left is not smarter than a manichaeist from the right. They are both crusaders, war makers, believers in a black and white world, close-minded conservative. You don’t know it, but you are on the same side of Marion Le Pen.

    Trump should thank you for his victory, you deserve him.

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  • Dan, Dan.

    I can’t say it any clearer.

    There are people on the left (NOT RADICAL, NOT EXTREME) just overly emotional and insufficiently informed or reasonable who actual harm the social justice causes that they should be supporting and very often harm the causes they are supporting.

    Now I say this time and again and you NEVER reflect the idea back to me. You say, yes, yes, radical extremism yes, gottit. You write over it until it fits your simple model of the political landscape.

    People, perhaps because of facebook and social media, feel utterly unbuttoned in expressing their feelings as if that were of some great deliberative value like asserting truths. Less and less do people actually bother to investigate issues for themselves.

    FWIW Libertarians being of the left could only be a US thing. No, from a European perspective they were always right of centre. They do not sit happily on some orthogonal axis. (Sorry Haidt!) Hitchens’ view? Selfishness needs no further endorsement. I’ve had Libertarian friends. They thought themselves clever but had no insight into how people worked or what they wanted. These are my own people! Aspies, just not house trained like me. There are acres of genuine ignorance about humanity in their heads. When they go looking at psychology and properly research this stuff they are clever enough to change their minds. like Michael Shermer. But often through cleverness they are rich and successful (or expect to be) and arrogant enough not to feel the exciting smart of ignorance.

    Keep left, remain left. Join me on the left. But recognise what Haidt got absolutely correct, political dispositions are visceral, wired in and correspond to the types of moral judgements people make. Cultures, European American can alter a the political centre of gravity, but it will always divide over those feeling brave enough to progress just a little further fix just a few more societal unhappinesses and those feeling just scared enough to want to conserve what social capital you’ve and possibly roll it back to when everything was perfect when they were eleven. All political endeavour must accommodate in its plans the over-emotional, under-informed, lied to, scared, dispossessed, stolen from of all political persuasions.

    Its simply not good enough not to notice the liability and plain mistakes of our own fellow travellers. In the age of a facebook fueled emotional idiocracy, we have to put the substance back. Badges of goodness don’t cut it any more.

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  • Phil,

    I watched the video with that guy Levin. I was not impressed. This is old stuff. And it could have been Sean Hannity on Fox News talking. Is he right? Sure. There are all kinds of people in the world. The left is a huge umbrella.

    I acknowledge that unreasonable and overly emotional people on the left need to be more reasonable and less overly emotional. What the hell else do you want from me? The greater, more imminent, danger at the present time, is the far right!! You may not want to face that but that is the truth, as I see it. The left – regressive or otherwise – did not, did not, did not, support Trump, who has assembled an administration from HELL! And they’re all Republicans, Plutocrats, climate change deniers, etc.

    (Libertarianism. My paternal grandfather, a great businessman, a self-made millionaire, voted for FDR all four times. was an FDR loyalist. He was also a “libertarian democrat”, or so I’ve heard. I have no idea what that is, but I suspect that libertarianism back then meant something different than it does now.)

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  • Hi, Reckless Monkey

    How are you?

    My response to your comment? I couldn’t agree more. Did I say anything that suggested otherwise?

    I’d acknowledge their right to wear the burka but I don’t think the sexist attitudes that have spawned this particular fashion accessory should go unchallenged.

    My main point was that no matter how much we condemn and criticize or show solidarity or challenge, the change in attitude has to come from the oppressed themselves. (Pretty basic.)

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  • Dan

    The greater, more imminent, danger at the present time, is the far right!! You may not want to face that but that is the truth, as I see it.

    But you can’t fix that at the right. They are loons. You can more likely fix what the middle ground think. They have to see the error of their ways and start to put right the damage at mid-term and start visibly falling away from “their man” and his demolition team. They voted against lefties letting job stealers into the country and stifling complaints about muslims. So, develop much better policy that answers their concerns. Its entirely doable. I suggest this stuff often.

    Fix whats fixable. As it happens its what will utterly undercut the the haters.

    Nick Cohen and Hitchens spotted the rise of the regressive left early on and at about the same time. Yet again you paper over my specific concerns with some bland generalisation of your standard model of politics…the left is a huge umbrella, blah, neglecting the point that the alt right use the regressive left as a caricature of the whole of the left. THIS is the point.

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  • I see and appreciate your point. Thanks.

    “Job stealers into the country.”

    Is that what you think or is that the perception of the Trump supporters or both?

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  • Dan,

    “Job Stealers”

    That is the perception.

    I am personally delighted at how East Europeans have lifted the UK economy (particularly locally!) The great bulk of the UK salad vegetable production is the result of Sicilian families moving into our valley here generations ago. Flagging a little it has been revitalised by Polish workers, helping significantly to reduce our imports.

    These “job stealers” are often an economic boon.

    Much more to say….but tomorrow.

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  • And now for something completely different.

    When I die I have a vision of the way i want my memorial to go and what i want done with my “burial”. There will be a viewing (it will not be in a church or funeral home). I will have Crown Royal and Jameson on a table in the corner. I will be propped up and standing across from the drink table (dead, of course). There will be music and informal bullshitting by all. I hope there are laughs, not too many tears and the attendees should leave thinking of me. Oh, one more piece, I want my right arm to be rigged with a small motor that waves my hand back and forth in one final wave goodbye.

    I want to be buried in a root ball of a sapling. I’d like a small plaque on the tree that has my vital stats…. I want the tree to grow using me and my organic molecules to feed and fuel it’s growth. The tree, in turn will disperse it’s organic (and inorganic) molecules into the environment and animals and fungi and protists and bacteria will all assimilate some of me. I will be back to nature.

    And, if I have been wrong all this time about the existence of a supreme being, I will stand and be judged on my body of work, on the man…. the HUMAN I am. I will hand this body back to it, broken and battered. I will have wrung every fucking drop of life out of my corporal being, then the god thing will say, “man you look like you’ve been through a storm”.

    And, I will say. I AM the storm.

    And, if I have been right all this time about there being no supreme being, well, I lived and died on my own terms. My life was lived with passion and meaning.

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  • Dear crookedshoes,

    Are you having suicidal ideation? If you are, see someone. Death by one’s own hand is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

    Sorry if I misconstrued. (Better to err on the side of safety.) Just a tad concerned.


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  • Dear crooked.

    Nice funeral plan. The waving hand? Slightly gauche but hey, whatever. I don’t like your booze selection. Tastes disgusting. Mind if I bring my own drug of choice?

    Hopefully you’ll be serving a decent buffet.

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  • Since we’re on the subject….

    I’d like to fake my own death, have everyone come to the funeral, and then after everyone is finished praising me (and crying), I’d step out from behind the curtain and say “Hi!! —I’m alive!!

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  • Dan,
    While I have struggled with depression in my life and stared at the darkness, this is not any symptom of that. I have cycled out of the depression and (I hope) never have to feel that way again. Thank you for your concern and I love thinking that if you’d reach out to me with concern and compassion, the people in your life are “blanketed” with that same awesome perk for knowing you.

    I want to live forever or as long as I possibly can. My father in law cracks up because I say that I wouldn’t care if i was two eyes and a brain in a jar, it beats not existing anymore. Just hold my grandkids and great grandkids in front of my jar once a year and I will be glad for my existence. I do not (as you all know) have an afterlife. I have this one and it is precious and important. It took me a long cold dark time to figure it out, but I have arrived at my conclusion and am confident that I am correct.

    I do not discriminate about whatever you’d like to bring to the show! Have at it. As far as the waving hand, it’d be the only time anyone ever saw such a hilarious last gesture!!! They’d talk about it forever! And, I am a total foodie. My wife is the best cook from a long line of best cooks and her mom’s entire family are caterers. I am the prep cook and find it therapeutic to sit and chop veggies and do the grunt work. So, the buffet will be fabulous. Can’t promise you’ll like the music, but you can bring your own supply of that too!!!

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  • Eejit,

    Honestly as an American woman I have to be subject to a form of such segregation in the fact that I refuse to reduce myself to a sex toy by wearing makeup, heels, or women’s clothing in the work place, which means that most jobs are inherently denied me. While there is no inherent risk of violence in my decision, all of the other forms of persecution are there, because I choose not to fulfill the Western ideal of sexual attractiveness.

    I refuse to wear poison on my face. I refuse to damage my legs and body with high heels. I refuse to wear things like dresses and blouses that are meant to enhance the sexual form for the sake of a job. Clothing that is cold, has no practical value and is perpetually uncomfortable (I can’t find women’s clothing that is comfortable or practical and women are moreover expected to pay more for clothing, another reason to shop menswear).

    I have no problems with sexuality in and of itself or people who dress sexy because they want to. I have no problem with polygamy, GBLT, asexuality, SM, or any other sexual choice (with the exception of NC or pedophilia). I do have a problem with society basing a person’s permission to enter certain career fields on the degree to which they fulfill standards of attractiveness of a sexual nature (Any clothing that brings out the form of the body is of a sexual nature).

    I’m glad not to have to deal with violence for the most part (Though I do know families who punish their children for refusing to wear the clothing society dictates, like a dress or blouse–those people are as evil as the ones who abuse their children for wearing such things. No child should be forced to wear something like a dress, which implicitly interferes with movement and safety. No child should likewise have their ears pierced as an infant–pure abuse there and people who take away body choice like that…well my body, my choice…anyone who would try to poke holes into me as an adult would have the crap beaten out of them. An infant doesn’t have that ability to defend themselves against that).

    You have a problem with cervical mutilation but think it’s ok to pierce an infant’s ears….the only difference is in the magnitude of the crime. Neither are acceptable.

    Honestly, in the U.S., if I didn’t fear being beaten for wearing such clothing I’d probably wear something similar to a hijab or burka, no religious overtones even remotely being a part of it, because I want the freedom to move through society without being judged on appearance I fantasized about that long before I knew there were any religious connotations (And to be fair and clarify after my rant above, long before I knew about the existence of sex), after seeing illustrations in Nat Geo as a grade schooler. Being able to move through hidden like that always seemed like such a glorious thing, no religion necessary.

    But, secular leanings toward hiding one’s self are severely discriminated against in our society, and I’d probably be beaten or killed by American discriminators for trying to simply move through the world in a state of psychological comfort.

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  • Phil and Dan your conversation is very important here I think. Could you both please cite cases a little more often than the generalities.
    Phil you mention husbands. I wonder what the reaction would be all around if the criticism and mocking was suggested to be directed exclusively at the male companions? Thought experiment time.

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  • DanDare

    How can we direct our criticism of hejab or burka, etc at male companions of these women? There are plenty of Muslim women who wear these items against the wishes of the family.

    I have mentioned that we have a niece who insists on wearing the odious hejab despite the fact that her entire family despises everything it represents. Her male cousins argued with her the last time she visited here and told her that they wouldn’t walk near her when we went to the city because of how her wearing the hejab reflects on them! They can’t stand it that passers by would assume that they were forcing her to wear that getup.

    It’s complicated.

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  • @Dan

    I’m fine, on holiday’s from school, going to spend a few days at Stradbroke Island and relax (my sister has a house over there – beautiful). So as about as relaxed as I get at the moment. Just had some family visiting so I didn’t get back to the site until just now so hope I didn’t imply anything.

    to answer your question,
    I wasn’t sure, in fact I’m conflicted about this issue so I throw ideas out to be tested by those who I think may have a different view – so please don’t take offense. On some issues I suppose I’m pretty well as convinced as I’m ever going to be but this one is a thorny one and I genuinely appreciate an argument if anyone has has one for me on this.

    So always appreciate some constructive criticism if there is any on offer. Cheers for the consideration anyway.

    regards, will ponder on it more as I swim in the cool surf and stroll on the beach

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  • Phil #49: How often do you think this situation pertains? Women in favour, men against?

    Polls show that women are more religious than men. Visiting an Arab country, a middle age
    educated Muslim woman who spoke flawless English and loved American films and TV shows told me she wore traditional black-robed garments with hijab (no veil) out of commitment and dedication to her faith. I suspect most women who wear the hijab do so proudly as an outward (public) sign of their faith or at least as a sign of their cultural faith identity. Muslims of both sexes are more devout and tradition-bound than secularized Christians and Jews in the west. I doubt if many men or women living in the umma (Muslim community) object to this symbol of belief and solidarity.

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  • Some people here, that talked about leaving muslim woman who wants to wear a hijab alone, stated that they do not know what the regressive left is and who SW are.
    Regressive left and SW are the people who ‘defend’ some improtant freedoms(like freedom of Religion) through bashing other mostly more important rights (freedom of speech, right to be treated equely etc)
    So, to show an example, you sir(/s) are regressive left.
    Let me elaborate:
    The article isnt about dictating women what to wear in their private time. Its about how our civilization celebrate woman who got to wear her religious hat during broadcast, and public scrutiny of people who dared to condemn this as a set back in civilized values.
    Try looking from this angle: Are other women in broadcasting jobs allowed to choose freely their clothes for themself, or are they supposed to wear what their company decide? Can devout christian woman cover eveything expect her face and go on the air? Can Pastafarian wear strainer during broadcast? If atheist girl didnt get a job at broadcasting becouse she was too shy to show clevalage would public opinion notice? Have you noticed?
    The woman who got to keep hijab during broadcast wasnt granted religious freedom to do so. She was granted an Extra Right over other non-muslim women to do so. Do you know what is called the time when it was okay for certain religions to had privilages over other religions and non-religious?
    And thats why you are called “regressive” left.

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  • Melvin #52
    Dec 13, 2016 at 1:19 am

    Visiting an Arab country, a middle age educated Muslim woman who spoke flawless English and loved American films and TV shows told me she wore traditional black-robed garments with hijab (no veil) out of commitment and dedication to her faith.

    Rather like Christian nuns, Catholic priests, and Cardinals!

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  • The Hijab

    Then there is the issue of what other religious or cultural baggage is being hidden under it!

    Girls are being taken to female genital mutilation (FGM) “parties” in cities across England, a charity has warned.
    The Black Health Initiative in Leeds says midwives from Africa are being flown into the country to carry out the illegal practice.

    West Yorkshire Police said they were aware girls were being subjected to FGM locally.

    Latest NHS figures show more than 8,000 women across England have recently been identified as being victims of FGM.

    FGM is an illegal practice in the UK and carries a sentence of up to 14 years in jail. It is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the partial or total removal of the female external genitalia, for non medical reasons.

    Heather Nelson, Chief Executive of the Black Health Initiative, said: “We know of parties happening here in England, and in West Yorkshire we recently had to break one up, and we’ve stopped another from taking place.

    “What we’re finding now is that where once girls were taken abroad to be cut, specialist midwives are now flown over and several girls are cut at the same time, which then leads to a celebration.

    The charity said it had a referral from a school in Leeds last week regarding an eight-year-old girl who they thought was playing truant.

    “In fact she was disappearing from class because it took her an hour to go to the toilet, such was the pain she was experiencing,” Ms Nelson said.

    “People will say why don’t you call the police if you hear about one of these parties? But when you call the police you find that not every officer has an awareness of what FGM is.”

    West Yorkshire Police said they were aware that women and girls in Yorkshire had been subjected to the act of FGM.

    Ass Ch Con Russ Foster said: “We are doing everything we can to tackle this issue and it is vital that all our partners continue to work together to make a difference.”

    The force said it had no “specific intelligence” about FGM “parties” taking place.

    Areas in England with the highest number of recorded FGM victims include Birmingham, Bristol, London and Manchester.

    A recent report by the Home Affairs Select Committee said it was a “national scandal” that no one in the UK had ever been successfully prosecuted for a FGM offence.

    There are no definitive figures that detail exactly how many women in England have actually been a victim of FGM.

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  • Melvin

    Polls show that women are more religious than men.

    What polls are you referring to? Details of the poll are important. n=? Americans only? etc.

    The reason I answered Phil with “no idea” is because I’m not aware of any survey of Muslim women that has a large n and covers the wide swathe of area that would allow us to generalize across the category of people known as Muslim women. This is enough to make the collection of data daunting.

    Other issues that a researcher would face include preparation of a survey with questions that obtain the answers that reliably provide us with the data we seek. The questions must be posed in a way that encourage honest responses. This can be tricky.

    Access is bound to be a problem due to cultural issues. Males just won’t have any access to women in families that aren’t related to them. Even if they did get access to women with whom they could get private time for a survey, I can’t trust responses from these subjects to be honest instead of saying what the subject believes the male interviewer wants to hear.

    Even if I, an American woman managed to line up a thousand Muslim women for private interview on this topic, I won’t trust their answers to be honest with me either. I am obviously an infidel and they will not trust me to be fair minded in judging their religion. The minute I stroll into their domain in my jeans and leather jacket with snappy hairdo they’ve got my number. So the only way I could possibly survey these women is to bring with me at least one Muslim woman, needed for perfect translation at the very least, (one for each dialect of Arabic) who would vouch for my neutrality and sympathy to their culture and cause. I’m not saying this is impossible but this is really burdensome and the survey would be better off without me, as much as I would love to dive into it. sigh.

    Visiting an Arab country, a middle age
    educated Muslim woman who spoke flawless English and loved American films and TV shows told me she wore traditional black-robed garments with hijab (no veil) out of commitment and dedication to her faith.

    Melvin, of course she said that. It’s the standard reply.

    I suspect most women who wear the hijab do so proudly as an outward (public) sign of their faith or at least as a sign of their cultural faith identity.

    You can’t possibly know if it’s most women. I have no idea how many of those women are proud or how many are forced or how many wear it because their Uncle gave it to them and they have nothing better to wear and just said ya ok whatever. There are many reasons that Muslim women give for why they wear the headscarf. I will refer you to a paper written by Karima Bennoune – actually it’s a chapter in a book by Deena Hurwitz, 2009, Human Rights Advocacy Stories. The title of the chapter by Bennoune is The Law of the Republic Versus the “Law of the Brothers:” A Story of France’s Law Banning Religious Symbols in Public Schools.

    This paper is a useful tool for understanding the complexity of the veil in all of its manifestations in the context of the French ban on religious symbols in their public school system. I always recommend this paper for anyone who is starting out in trying to understand the issue. I also highly recommend her book from 2013 titled: Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here: Untold Stories from the Fight Against Muslim Fundamentalism.

    From her article that I mentioned above, she gives eight reasons why Muslim women report that they wear the veil:

    Expression of religious belief
    Coerced by family, neighbors, community
    Teenage rebellion against family, teachers, liberal parents
    Protest against the French state or International events
    Pride in heritage
    Internalized misogynist views about modesty
    To gain respect
    Support a theocratic agenda.

    Muslims of both sexes are more devout and tradition-bound than secularized Christians and Jews in the west.

    Again, where are you getting this from? How could we possibly know that when outward signs of religiosity cannot reliably predict the inner feelings of the person wearing them? This is just a feeling that you have. But if you have any actual data on this then by all means share it with us. It would be important to know this information.

    I doubt if many men or women living in the umma (Muslim community) object to this symbol of belief and solidarity.

    Bennoune’s book doesn’t back this up. Those veils in all of their forms are symbolic of something that is abhorrent to many people. Here is Jerry Coyne’s take on this subject:

    I maintain what I said to Phil above: I have no idea. It’s complicated.

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  • Again, where are you getting this from? How could we possibly know that when outward signs of religiosity cannot reliably predict the inner feelings of the person wearing them? This is just a feeling that you have. But if you have any actual data on this then by all means share it with us. It would be important to know this information.

    LaurieB You’re absolutely right. No one can peek into the soul of others and know their inner feelings. Islam is a highly regressive authoritarian religion that oppresses women along with many other groups; encourages internecine conflict including civil war with heretics; and commands distrust of infidels even the duty to fight and kill them under enlistment in jihadism. As I suggested in an earlier comment, I believe the Islamist form of Islam will collapse under the obnoxious, painfully retrograde burdens it places on believers seeking a better life in the 21st century.

    That said, there are nonetheless over a billion Muslims in the world committed with varying degrees of piety, belief and disciplined practices. Among these are large numbers who identify culturally with the faith tradition while socialized to varying degrees with secular orientation to modern western life. Simply put, secularized believers in any faith are pretty indifferent to religiousity, caring little about attending services, praying, reading scripture, believing seriously in teachings and theology. Once more over time in my view these people will shed the faith entirely but may retain vestiges of respect for the traditional faith of their ancestral culture.

    The hijab I suspect, (like the yarmulke) is widely worn by both the religious and culturally “respectful” secularists of Muslim family descent. The veil, as you point out probably conveys a pious display of Islamic faith. Though doubtlessly some women are forced by male and female peers to wear these garments against their will, I believe it is an overblown conspiracy stereotype in western European countries that most Muslim women are coerced against their will.

    The veil is another issue at the extremes of piety and scary to westerners. The hijab, to make a distinction, is nothing more than a tight-fitting headscarf. I’ve seen smiling laughing girls and women wearing them proudly here in the states. What turns me off is seeing young western women who have “converted” to backward Islam wearing them to attract attention to their sorry little asses.

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  • Melvin

    From your comment 32 you explain how you believe moderation will be accomplished:

    Doubled life expectancy, expanded leisure, travel and recreation time funded by rising discretionary income, birth control, mobility, sexual freedom, labor-saving automation, computers and social media have transformed lives into an engagement with consumerism away from the grinding mandates of manual labor, obedience-to-authority, and austerity at the core of traditional institutions. Taking liberties with a hedonistic meme: Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll will spell doom for the medieval Burka and Clitoridectomy.

    While much of this had everything to do with my own rejection of religion as an American coming of age in the seventies, I don’t think that sex, drugs, rock and roll or any of those other factors are available to youth in the undeveloped parts of the world. If I take you into Algeria, magically, you will be shocked to find them decades or centuries behind the industrialized liberal West at this point in time. It produces a profound sense of despair to the uninitiated visitor. There is a terrible sense of hopelessness than descends on one like a black cloud hovering overhead.

    Not only are the suburban and rural young Muslims lacking access to these transforming factors that you mention, the influences that they do find all around them can swing their minds in the direction of fundamentalism and I’m talking about satellite TV and the internet. Access to media can also provide content that offers a secular viewpoint as well and this gives me hope. What has not worked well is that in the past decade, Al Jazeera and other stations like it have beamed content into families living rooms that includes the devastating Iraq war, the plight of the Palestinians and every other insult and injury that their fellow Muslims suffer daily in the world. This was not available previously. Before this, your average Muslim had a limited knowledge of what was going on in the world around them. As an example, Algeria had one TV station in the eighties and it was state controlled and severely limited information that was spoon fed to the entire public. Until the public started bringing satellites back from Europe and installing them on apartment buildings (with a thousand cables strung up between apartments), they had no way to know about the situation of others in the world.

    I have to believe that the middle and older generations are in general more moderate because they were not influenced by international TV stations and the political content on the internet. The young people grew up hearing about victimization of Muslims on an international level and then with the Muslim Brotherhood and other entities out there poised for action, they found an army of unemployed, frustrated, bored, underdogs that found the common cause of political islam to be the most inspiring force they’ve ever known. Meanwhile back home their middle age and elderly grandparents don’t even recognize the Islam of their young people. What is so disheartening is when the young hejabis and their male counterparts wearing their corresponding Muslim uniforms rail against their parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents, accusing them of infractions against Islam. This is unsettling and frightening in the family.

    Mosques have sprung up on every block and the fundamentalists have run a campaign of aid to the poor and criticism of corruption that impress everyone around them. These are natural gathering spots for young people to socialize at. They are centers of indoctrination and pressure young people to lean into fundamentalism. One of our nephews in Algeria is lost to this crowd. We hear that the mosques are controlling job access for young men and this would be very difficult to turn away from due to the longterm high unemployment there.

    Here’s an interesting conversation about the problem of keeping youth away from bad fundamentalist influence:

    Though doubtlessly some women are forced by male and female peers to wear these garments against their will, I believe it is an overblown conspiracy stereotype in western European countries that most Muslim women are coerced against their will.

    Melvin, this is really not true. I can tell you that during the Algerian civil war that raged through the nineties, women were required to wear the hejab by threat of death. There are women who walked out in public without it and were slaughtered right there in public by the murderous fundamentalists. This is just Algeria. This information is documented in Bennoune’s book cited above. I own the book on Kindle and went to get the references on this claim and the kindle is dead so I’m charging it now. When fired up again I’ll get you the reference on the announcement by the FIS there threatening women to wear the hejab – a public statement of political Islam, or die. This threat exists as the worst coercion we could have. All other forms are less frightening but still substantial.

    young western women who have “converted” to backward Islam wearing them to attract attention to their sorry little asses.

    I don’t think that is on the list of reasons to wear hejab that I included above.

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  • @Alan4Dsicussion #56

    Thanks for that Alan, It’s horrifying. I try to imagine my reaction if I found out that boys at the school I teach at were having their penises cut off for some religious ritual, male circumcision is bad enough in my view (purely on a basis of a baby boy being unable to give consent – other risks aside) and that you might call the police and get baffled responses or a non-reaction. It’s astonishing and that is often the world we live in when the rights of a child are not outweighed in a secular western country by an interpretation of a religious mandate. If some random psychopath was cutting off little girls clitorises it’d be national news and people would refuse to send kids to school until the offender was locked up – for life (not 14 years – probably 6 with good behavior). Clearly on learning of this happening it’s simple lock up everyone who enabled the event, the midwife, charge anyone who knew and said nothing, they are all clearly guilty of a hideous crime. That we allow the attempted destruction of girls sexual desire on the basis of tolerance tells us just how far the enlightenment still has to come.

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  • @Melivn #58

    Though doubtlessly some women are forced by male and female peers to wear these garments against their will, I believe it is an overblown conspiracy stereotype in western European countries that most Muslim women are coerced against their will.

    I’d highlight the most. I don’t think many here at least think it is most, it doesn’t need to be, it only needs to be a minority for it to be a serious issue. The problem I have with it at its gentlest, women have been brainwashed by nonsense into believing that their god considers their sexuality a sin and that they should cover up else they be considered what? guilty of bringing men into lustful sin? This thought process is likely to encourage slut shaming at the least, women and men shaming less pious women. At worst it leads to things like honor killing which in the West is still present but thankfully very rare. I maintain the right of these women to cover up if they choose. However they should not expect a pass in public discourse about how silly and destructive this practice is.

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  • Revising my earlier statement about veiled women and the comment it makes upon their husbands.

    The veiled state of women is rather a comment upon the men of their community and culture. It says that their men are neither capable of nor obliged to employ self restraint in the matter of public sexual conduct. If it is asserted that this is merely a demonstration of piety, then, why this one and not another? Allah or his prophet is collared by this shameful admission about menfolk…or its made up nonsense with no relation to Islam.

    A moral system based on fear of retribution or crass avoidance and not on the cultivation of a moral self determination is shaming. I don’t believe many modern Muslims so seek to shirk their true moral obligations by dint of threat or the infantilising removal of temptation.

    Women must be braver than seeking such safe spaces. For their daughters they should be outraged by any such need.

    We must never make the veiled feel unsafe, however, the shame of shame is to be theirs….

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  • Hi, Michael (and others),

    How are you, sir?

    Nobody here that I can see is advocating the suppression of free speech, although they are out there. I am aware of that – and they have helped set the stage for this backlash.

    Trump wants to be politically incorrect.— Fine; but he is inconsistent, wants to suppress political speech if it threatens him, to suppress dissent, to suppress the freedom of assembly, to suppress the right to protest for rights.

    The “destructive right” is my concern at the moment.

    I am weary of these eternal discussions about Muslim women and their lot. They have to want to change, period. They must revolt from within and then start marching, like the pioneering feminists did over here. No foreign influence made that happen, as far as I know. It was organic. But these women were educated and enlightened. The hijab women and girls (Sorry: inelegant phrase) must become well educated. There is no other way. How you accomplish that is not clear to me. But that is what must happen. Malala Yousafzai was and is right and she paid a terrible price. (Why do you suppose slaveowners prohibited black slaves from learning to read?)

    We have our own problems here and our government might become like those we like to look down on and regard as loathsome and repressive. (Animal Farm. Remember?) The religious right, who are in a position now to get what they want, is as bad as the Taliban, or almost as bad.

    I am bitter.

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  • Jerry Coyne has posted this news item of a Saudi woman who walked out in public without her black shroud on.

    Now that’s what real bravery looks like. Compare that to the hejabi “firsts” that Tayler notes in his article above.

    The first woman in a hijab to anchor a television news broadcast! To dance as a ballerina! To fence in the Olympics! To — cue for gasps at the sheer progressive splendor of the moment — pose in Playboy!

    Come on my fellow feminists! What’s really worth celebrating here?!!!

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  • Laurie

    That is great. She’ll probably be stoned to death. But what is this:

    “I’ve posted a lot about how some Regressive Left venues…”

    What is this shit about the regressive left? I still find that label annoying and objectionable. Why do these people keep attacking, and blaming the “regressive left”, for something that has been going on since the dawn of Islam?

    Jerry Coyne can go screw himself and he can shove his labels where the moon don’t shine.

    Laurie, your thoughts on the “regressive left.”—I’d be curious to hear them.

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  • Hi Dan,

    I too am concerned by Trump, I think America should let the rest of the world have a vote in their elections as it impacts us all when things screw up over there. We all felt the global financial crisis when deregulation of the banks led to predictable results. However as an Australian I don’t have the same concerns (I’m assuming you are American) as Trump will have no influence on our health care, education system, etc. My concerns about Trump largely come into factors of foreign policy, trade agreement, the American economy etc. So while I sympathise with those concerned about Trump, local issues such as how Islam integrates with the West is a significant factor in my local politics. Let me try to explain the damage being done by these issues in Australia and I think Europe at the moment.

    At the moment the right of both leading parties (in Australia) are concerned about boat people. That is they are expressing concern about unchecked immigrants seeking refuge by boat. As a result they are locking up people seeking refuge from largely war-torn zones in the Middle East via Indonesia. At the moment they are being intercepted and transported to Manus and Naru Islands and held in stinking hot conditions largely because of concerns about Muslims in general. I feel enormous personal shame that my nation can treat people like this. Why are Australians so concerned about Muslims in general given that most are peaceful and just want to live relatively secular lives? I have some opinions about this and most have to do with a failure to communicate on both sides.

    When any of this is discussed in the media the left will accuse anyone with legitimate concerns over refugees as simply bigots. Now there certainly are bigots in that category but I have never heard the left answer the simple statement how many refugees can Australia take? Australia is huge but is something like 95% desert we have a small population and hence a fairly small tax base and have enormous amount of roads and infrastructure costs due to our low population density. In the last big drought many of our cities became critically low on water. So there has to be a practical upper limit to the amount of immigration we bring in – the left simply will not address this question,.
    there have been a number of recent Islamic terrorist attacks, Bali, Lint Cafe and others specifically targeting Australians for our involvement in removing Indonesia from East Timor (a problem we helped create and maintain). The left refuse to acknowledge that religion or Islam has anything to do with this, instead calling anyone who raises the issue a racist and Islamaphobe. Our staff members had to protect a Muslim student at our school from racist children at our school because she stupidly came out in support of the Bali bombers, the large number of racist students at our school took this excuse to target this girl. Were did these attitudes come from? In cases from the parents attitudes on both sides.
    I share your concern about the rise of Trump. In Australia our Trump equivalent is a former fish and chip shop from Oxley Brisbane owner called Pauline Hanson (leading the the witty description – the Oxley Moron). This woman holds a significant amount of power in our federal senate because idiot though she is, she expresses the views of many an uninformed Australian. And uninformed is the issue, as Laurie B has pointed out these are tricky issues, but the left largely refuses to address the issues at all honestly, this leads to many who could be convinced of a more moderate approach if they felt the issues were being addressed even just aired by mainstream politician. This seems to be a global problem.

    If concerns about the influence on societies by regressive religious beliefs were acknowledged by our politicians perhaps Britain would still be in the EU, perhaps Trump would not have won and perhaps a nut job senator would not hold balance of power in my country. What we need is open debate and dialogue on all these issues, people (even bigots) need to be heard and argued with or our democracy will mean nothing. Many will vote for better ideas if they hear them but the left has squandered their moral high ground by dismissing the principles it claims to stand for. Time for the left to pick some principles to stand by. I think the “destructive right” are empowered by the regressive left in short. Time for a reformation in the left.

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  • R M—

    Yes, I see your point. Everyone who is concerned about immigration is a “bigot”, etc. That didn’t help us much over here. But that’s just the way it is, and I really do think that people are fulminating about the Left, the mistakes of the Left, way too much. What they should be concerned about is the rise of the Right, and propaganda, and all of that. The Left errs all the time. What else is new? There are a lot of people on the Left that are good too. The Left is getting blamed too much. I have friends who are furious with the Left now. No sense of proportion.

    This will affect the whole world. Climate change and nuclear war affects us all.

    And this wave is spreading. I read an article about the rise of right wing populism in Australia.

    (I am American, live in NYC.)

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  • Hi Dan,

    Thanks for that, I take your point. I don’t think we are actually very far apart on this in reality. I too am worried about the rise of the right, I suppose if I think about it because I am of the left, I feel I need the left to do a better job fighting the right, it seems unlikely the right will do a very good job fighting themselves – especially when they are winning. I grew up in (and still live) in Queensland Northern state on the east coast (where the Great Barrier Reef is) as a boy it was extremely right wing and conservative however the left were very strong in opposition as a result. I grew up with bigotry and simplistic thinking but politics was still about debate and compromise still happened that’s what more than anything seems missing a feeling that pragmatic compromise was called for in most things rather than one side belligerently refusing to listen to the other. I agree climate change is critical as is the threat of nuclear war, the left at least over here need to be careful not to be written off as extremist on areas where they for example refuse to acknowledge facts on other issues as it degrades their credibility when areas such as climate change come up.

    As for a focus on the left’s issues on this site I suspect many if not most on this site are of the left so it hurts us most of all when our own side seems to be letting us down. I appreciate your comments Dan you make me think about my thoughts rather than just reacting, keep it up.

    Anyway off to stroll on the beach and dodge sharks in the surf, speak to you all in a few days.


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  • Dan

    The regressive left is causing problems for progressive feminists. Their super support of the hejab etc is NOT moving Muslim women forward in this life – it’s holding them back in the dark ages! Yes, they have the right to wear these garments by the law but that doesn’t mean we have to respect what they symbolize. I won’t respect nor will I celebrate these slavery uniforms.

    I absolutely consider myself to be on the liberal side of things and have been my whole adult life. These regressives are not what you and I consider to be mainstream liberals. I think you are stuck on that word regressive. It doesn’t include us. I agree with you that change for these oppressed women must come from within and there’s very little we can do from the outside. But to celebrate and glorify the hejab and other symbols of oppression is not progressive, it is regressive. We can be proud of our liberal progressive position and draw a line between us and the happy clappy – everyone’s culture is wonderful regressive lefties.

    I think the atheist liberals have a sharper sense of where to draw the line between harmless religious practice and abusive religious practice. I don’t feel the need to respect bad old ideas. Seems like the regressives lump all religious ideas into – It’s their culture! You have to respect their culture! They are blocking people like us from presenting our observations by shutting us up with accusations of islamophobia etc. Don’t let your friends tar us with such a broad brush.

    I am much more frightened of the ultraconservatives of course. Reactionaries is more like it. Poisonous minds.

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  • Okay, Laurie. You have excellent judgment (as do my other friends on the site); so I guess this regressive left thing is really a bit of a problem after all. But I am still not sure if we are not placing too much emphasis on this issue you speak of (the regressive left glorifying the hijab in the name of respecting other cultures, etc.).

    I am more focused on US politics; the Right should be occupying our thoughts now; and I am not terribly interested in the continuous fulminations about the regressive left. The extreme right existed way before the SJWs appeared. Yes, bad people (regressive leftists) are bad and are doing us all a disservice, but the regressive left pales in comparison to what is emerging now.

    My twenty-one or twenty-two year old niece (Melina) just sent me this:

    “I’m getting a terrible feeling that this whole Trump presidency has been a plan by the Alt-Right for a very long time to develop some sort of new world order. Theyre using him to distract everyone while they assemble this scary team. Who knows what kind of horrendous stuff they’re planning. Feeling very unsettled and I know you share this.”

    What should I tell her, that it’s the regressive left’s fault?

    But getting back to Muslim women, do they know or even care what the “regressive left” over here says? How much harm can they be doing over there? They may annoy us over here; but how is this holding Muslim women back? I’d be willing to bet that the vast majority of Muslim women have never heard of the regressive left and are completely unfamiliar with their ideas.

    I think the “regressive left” is problematic, but is a bullshitty catch phrase designed by Quillette and others to attract readers and advertisers. (Then again, maybe I am wrong.)

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  • The regressive left hate Dawkins. They undercut our entire efforts here declaring religion and all of its specific poisons out of bounds because… cultural relativism. They champion the wrong underdogs sight unseen, religions, communities, neglecting women, children, individuals…

    The right have blind stupid emotional loyalty. We have damned limiting evidence and reason hobbling our morals and actions. We can’t do loyalty. We champion Dawkins (often!), not out of loyalty.

    The right have always been the enemy during times of plenty, all the while acting needlessly scared, rolling back progress.

    The right can’t beat us on evidence and reason unless they strawman us and take the idiot regressive left as representing us. Which is exactly what they did. We need to de-mark these folk, highlight the divide and try to bring as many as possible to reason. This is about narrow majorities and how we can best ensure this never happens again and start the change in two years. It is increasingly difficult now. Social media is fomenting an unhealthy need of mere likability not reasoned honesty.

    A parallel need is to bring fairness to those of all political persuasions who have become the dispossessed. Those who never saw the fruits of their ever increasing labour.

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  • Phil, what you wrote just doesn’t ring entirely true for me. I sense a touch of misplaced hostility bordering on paranoia: the left, the left, the left…

    Who are these people who don’t like Dawkins? Where are they?—I will talk to them. (Ha-ha)

    The Right cannot beat us unless they STRONGMAN us, and they will do just that, if they can. No straw-men in the foreseeable future.

    This is barbarism.

    You could be right and I may be just out of touch. Anyway, take a look, if you feel like it, at the Climate Change Skeptic thread. I have some articles /comments there. What is happening now is simply unimaginable. Yet it is happening.

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  • Dan #72
    Dec 14, 2016 at 4:04 am

    …the left, the left, the left…Who are these people who don’t like Dawkins? Where are they?—I will talk to them. (Ha-ha)

    Many of the ones I have met are Catholics who do this “charitably helping the poor” thing, and bleeding-heart for poverty sufferers – whilst promoting big families living in poverty, and brain addling children with tribalist, repressive, divisive, dogma.
    This becomes very obvious in poverty stricken theocracies where these sorts of people keep similar thinking governments in power!

    They are the (pseudo)”defenders of the weak (in the head)” – after they have created this ignorance based weakness, vulnerability, and dependence in children.
    They love “authoritative” ideological, faith-thinking, preaching, leaders, – who feed them “political-correctness” and woo-garbage, into their fallacy-crippled brains!

    You may have seen articles about the pope having meetings with imams to discuss “their common interest in fighting secularism”!

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  • I sense a touch of misplaced hostility bordering on paranoia: the left, the left, the left…

    Madness on stilts. Where? What? I’ll want evidence and reason not emotion.

    The Dawkin’s haters on the left are manifold. My kids brought me endless wrongheaded anti-Dawkins stuff from facebook.

    I started to notice it with Atheist plus and PZ Myers. Its all over Patheos atheist channels like Barrier Breaker. Even rational BBC R4 satirists make a point of distancing themselves. I’m an atheist but not the nasty kind like Richard Dawkins. Philosophers like Mary Midgely, scientists like my beloved Frans de Waal mistake the nicety of his arguments and come over all Toxic Werdz Brigade. The Young Turks? Come on! You haven’t noticed? You haven’t seen the caricatured left arguments ridiculed by the right?

    We’ve talked about it often enough. Where do you go when you’re not here? Who do you debate?

    You want to wave your hands in front of the oncoming tank. Picturesque but futile. I want to rush around the back, disable their ammo and cut off their fuel.

    I haven’t added my despair on the climate change thread because apart from collective sobbing I don’t have anything productive to add. I need to add something productive. What if we…? So far I have nothing except to help stop it ever happening again. On this we need to start now. We need to show how they lied and misrepresented. We need to re-engage an increasingly SJW young who want to retreat under the blanket and fix everything by clicking LIKE.

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  • Moderator message

    Again we would ask users NOT to keep turning every thread into more discussion about Trump. There is no shortage of live threads at the moment where discussion about Trump is actively invited.

    If anyone feels that Trump is the only thing they are able to think about at the moment, then we suggest they simply stay off the threads dealing with other subjects and at least allow users who do wish to discuss those to do so without constantly having the discussion derailed.

    Dan – are you listening?

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  • LaurieB

    Above all else, I want to thank you for your marvelous comment at #59 from the perspective of life lived.
    Sometimes we forget that women are the biggest losers in Islamic countries, societies and families.
    My perspective looked at more moderate, educated women who wore the hijab almost as an unconscious affirmation of cultural identity -variously more assimilated into western culture living at home or in the west.
    You were right to call attention to the millions forced to wear the hijab throughout Islam and its odious purpose of confining women largely to the home under the thumb of husbands, fathers and brothers. More integral to the way of life than patriarchal oppression manifest in servitude, abuse and marginalized access to opportunities for social participation is the grinding poverty that holds the masses of people captive in misery.

    You’re right that many Islamist movements, especially the terrorist jihadist versions like ISIS and Al-Qaeda are youth movements. The civil wars in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Nigeria -the atavistic sectarian blood baths throughout the Arab world are perpetrated by militarized terrorist forces comprised of young men. I’ve read that most recruits know little of the Quran, and many are not particularly “pious” in the ordinary sense but nearly all believe they have been transformed by some jihadist revelation from Allah. Whatever their education level they generally come from pools of the unemployed, embittered and marginalized. Some are thugs, petty criminals and former drug dealers. The common denominator to radicalization is the appeal to youthful passion to find transcendent meaning to life, something greater than the self, something that one is willing to kill for or die for.

    My hope for the future may be unrealistic. I surmise, surveying history, that violent revolutionary movements burn themselves out over a period of years, or more likely in the middle east, over a period of decades. I hope the hostile peoples in the region can find political solutions to drawing up territorial borders, writing effective constitutions that begin enforcing human rights and liberties under the rule of law, and institute governments responsive to the need of the people rather than warlords, the military, kleptocracies and sectarian oligarchies.

    All that said, Islam will remain a huge world religion between one to two billion people for the foreseeable future. Over time I believe the faith will go through a period of reform and secularization marked by widespread repudiation of oppressive and anti-humanist practices. Throughout the civilizing, secularizing, progressive process, I believe not-a-few women will continue to wear the hijab (headscarf), minus the veil and constrictive garments, more as a statement of solidarity with a cultural-ancestral past than as a pious practice of modesty or “covering up.” Getting from “here to there” will not be easy or quick but if history offers any precedent, civilized, democratized states in the Arab middle east should start to emerge some decades before the end of the century.

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  • Alan,

    Are we talking about religion or politics? Are you saying that there are Leftists who are just posing as Leftists and actually colluding with the Right? Then they are not real Leftists.The Catholics who don’t like Dawkins are not regressive Leftists, are they; they are first and foremost indoctrinated Catholics.

    This is too confusing for me. I have acknowledged many times that there misguided liberals who end up doing more harm than good. But they do this unwittingly.


    The rise of Right-Wing populism and tyranny has many causes.

    See my comment on the ‘Fake’ Thread.

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  • Dan #78
    Dec 14, 2016 at 5:35 pm


    Are we talking about religion or politics? Are you saying that there are Leftists who are just posing as Leftists and actually colluding with the Right? Then they are not real Leftists.

    I am talking about some UK Cobynites who by any measure are leftists (ie on the extreme left fringe of the UK Labour Party).
    They are definitely left wing, but stupid enough to uncritically swallow simplistic right-wing garbage from the gutter press, or really bad arguments purportedly supporting in the interests of the people, but so flawed as to discredit the objectives they are said to be supporting.
    They are also sufficiently ignorant and stupid to swallow pandering to “political correctness”, and religious bigots, in the name of social justice, equality, and “religious tolerance”, to the detriment of the people they claim to represent.

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  • Alan

    Between the regressive left and the destructive right (a term I coined), we’re really up against it.

    Why don’t you go into politics? Didn’t you say it was a family tradition? The UK desperately needs people like you.

    “Prime Minister Alan4Discussion.”

    All kidding aside, have you thought about that?

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  • Dan #80
    Dec 14, 2016 at 7:23 pm

    Why don’t you go into politics? Didn’t you say it was a family tradition? The UK desperately needs people like you.

    I used to be more active, but I am still vice-chair of the local branch of a political party.

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