"While dictators rage and statesmen talk, all Europe dances — to The Lambeth Walk."

Saturday, 21 February 2009

The Joys of Citizenship

Oh, the irony.

In a new bid to 'tackle extremism', the government has been sending teaching packs to mosques and schools urging children as young as 11 to empathise with the motives of those who carried out the 7th July 2005 suicide bombings in London. In 'citizenship' classes, no less.

I think this highlights a couple of standard liberal beliefs about education and actions; the first being that all beliefs are somehow equal and worthy of similar respect, and the second is that every action is a reaction. We're all victims, just in different ways.

When I was at school we did similar things about 'imperialism'. I recall one textbook which asked something like:

"Put yourself in the position of Tecumseh of the Shawnee. How would you feel about white immigration to the Americas?"

My answer would be I simply do not know. That I'm an evil racist who is against cultural enrichment and diversity? A bit like I feel now when I see the Urdu and Arabic signs and schools in east London, or walk past a drug den in Brixton?

In any case, I'm not really sure why anyone is surprised the government is approving this. Tahir Alam, a spokesman for the Muslim Council of Great Britain said that this is simply a standard educational tool, and in New Britain, it is.

Obviously, there are limits; no one will ever be asked to put themselves in the position of Hitler. Or the Confederacy, the Crusaders, or any of history's more unfashionable causes. The problem is that in a relative sense, everyone does things for their own reasons. Or, to make the example slightly more real, why not try to empathise with Timothy McVeigh or Eric Rudolph? Somehow, I can't quite see the wonderfully named NUT pushing for the latter two, either.

If you can empathise with a suicide bomber, why can't you empathise with Hitler? Was Hitler a robot, programmed to cause Right-wing death and destruction? What about Rudolph? Was he just pure evil, did he not believe he was acting for the greater good?

In both examples, it is fairly obvious that their beliefs, however well intentioned, do not make their actions rational, justified or right.

The problem with Britain today is we have a long list of 'official victims'. These people tend to mainly come from ethnic or religious minorities, and the official line is they generally only act in good faith. For example, if four men wish to launch suicide attacks on London's transport network, we should try to understand.

After all, there are a number of potential causes; racism, discrimination, oppression, imperialism, US support for Israel, British support for the US, etc etc ad infinitum.

Unlike the Hitler example, however, it never seems to occur to anyone that maybe these people were just plain evil. A cultural misunderstanding is when I ask for tea but I'm brought coffee; it does not extend to blowing up scores of innocent people.

Did it ever occur to the people who wrote this 'teaching pack' that maybe these men were striking for a form of imperialism themselves? That maybe their religion demands it of them?

It doesn't surprise me for a moment that the Muslim Council of Great Britain thinks this is no big deal. It wants empathy. I'm sure many of its members are absolutely delighted by the idea that many people will now understand what happens when you don't give into Muslim demands, and that this is just and right, to be understood rather than condemned.

It's not right though, and it never will be; evil is evil, no matter in whose name it is practiced.

Some things are not worthy of 'understanding'. However, 'understanding' is increasingly our official policy on most normal crimes and murders, so perhaps this is simply a natural progression of liberal thought. Perhaps one day we will talk about Hitler's strict upbringing or Stalin's poverty and wring our hands that the poor lambs were driven to such acts, and never mind denying rational, personal choice, one of the fundamental aspects of being human.

Thinking like terrorists simply breeds terrorists; but it seems that in New Britain, at least for now, some terrorists are more equal than others.


Rev. Donald Spitz said...

I on the surface would seem to agree with you, but I do not know why you invoke the name of Eric Rudolph. Why not invoke the names of babykilling abortionists who actually do murder thousands of innocent children each year.
Eric Rudolph is not a terrorist, but an anti-terrorist fighter. Those who have killed babykilling abortionists have done so to protect the innocent. People use force everyday to protect the innocent and no one has a problem with it, except when it comes to protecting unborn human beings, then they go ballistic. It's very simple, the unborn deserve the same protection as the born. Born people are protected with force quite often. Force that you would be glad if it was to protect your children against a murderer. Force that you yourself might use to protect your own children from being murdered. The unborn deserve the same protection.
SAY THIS PRAYER: Dear Jesus, I am a sinner and am headed to eternal hell because of my sins. I believe you died on the cross to take away my sins and to take me to heaven. Jesus, I ask you now to come into my heart and take away my sins and give me eternal life. http://www.ArmyofGod.com

Anonymous said...

Tecumseh personally probably did not think too highly of white immigration, but that's life. Most American Indians today will admit that they are far better off than they would be had the white man not come to America.

Instead of "understanding" why people do these evil things against our society, we need to understand that our society is good and has a right to continue to exist just as it has been, without modification to accommodate these newcomers. If they must come (better they do not), then they must change, not the natives. They are not welcome on their terms at all.

There is simply no reason to "understand." That is just PC nonsense!

We need to restore a sense of national pride, a sense of white ethnic identity. It is fully justified and urgently needed. Let the rest of the world understand us for a change! -- Dr.D

The Venerable 1st Earl of Cromer said...


I understand your sentiments, but that's exactly the point I was making; everyone who works outside the law to achieve their goals should be frowned upon equally. I too am against abortion, but killing people and blowing things up is hardly the best way to make a case.

If you don't believe that, then surely the next stp is understanding that the 7/7 bombers were simply very upset about Britain's foreign policy decisions?

The Venerable 1st Earl of Cromer said...

Dr. D:

What's education on this matter like in the US today?

I read somewhere that some kids were even being taught that Columbus was a genocidal, Indian-killing maniac.

But generally, how are the American Indian Wars perceived? A chap called William M. Osborn has written some interesting things about atrocities, and just who did what. He thinks 2,000 more Europeans were massacred than Indians.