When ‘anti western’ sentiment is just a cover for hypocritical sexism, patriarchy and religious fundamentalism

Why is it that so many staunch, anti-western, sexist ‘traditionalists’ with excessive political and financial power (e.g. Modi, Erdogan, Saudi royalty, Chinese communists etc.) do not apply the same ‘standards’ in their own personal lives? For example, if they are so anti-western, anti-feminist and anti-capitalist, why do so many of them send their children to the best private boarding schools and universities in the UK and US? Because it’s ‘do as I say, not as I do.’

The Turkish President and his Deputy are classic examples of this phenomenon. On Monday, Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, made headlines by announcing at a summit on women and justice in Istanbul that women are not equal to men “because it goes against the laws of nature”.  As Alev Scott wrote in The Guardian, such ‘appalling sexism is impossible to laugh off‘:

According to Erdoğan, Islam is a girl’s best friend. “Our religion has given women the calling of motherhood … feminists cannot understand that.” Warming to his subject, Erdoğan described how believers, including himself, “kiss their mothers’ feet” because they “smell of heaven”. This weird fetishising of mothers had as much place in reality as his reasons why women cannot work as men do: “Their delicate frames are not suited to it.”

Here was the evil genius of the speech: Erdoğan made this last remark while deploring the way women in rural Anatolia do much of the manual labour while their husbands “play cards in the local coffee house”. He immediately had the sympathy of his listeners – it is true, this happens and it is wrong. It does not mean that women are not equal to men and cannot work as men do, but Erdoğan’s supporters will brandish the broken-backed farm women as evidence of his deep understanding of the trials of womankind.

While fewer than a third of women are officially employed in Turkey, many others work unregistered on farms or in factories, and many families could not survive without this second income. According to Erdoğan, however, women should stick to being mothers. In 2008 he advised women to have “at least” three children and preferably five, for the sake of the economy; in 2012 he tried to outlaw abortion.

Perhaps he is unaware that the more children a couple has, the more expensive family life becomes, especially in an increasingly urbanised Turkey. Motherhood becomes less about having one’s heavenly smelling feet kissed and more about the strains of impoverished domesticity.

To add even further insult to injury, Erdogan does not even apply his sexist, anti-western views to his own personal life. His daughter had an extremely expensive education at the best universities in the US and UK.

A long-time headscarf ban in Turkish universities, lifted only a few months ago, prevented Ms Erdogan from studying in her home country. With the financial help of Remzi Gur, a wealthy textile entrepreneur and a friend of the Erdogan family, Ms Erdogan went to the United States and to the United Kingdom to study political science and graduated from the London School of Economics in 2008.

In ‘communist’ China, for example, there’s an increasing trend for super rich parents to send their kids overseas to get an elitist education, no matter what the cost. A Chinese Luxury Consumer White Paper, published in 2012, found that 85% of families worth at least $1 million said they’d send their kids abroad to study. To the chagrin of many Brits, an elite British or US education has become a commodity for the super rich and powerful.

The problem is that too many schools are now irretrievably plugged into what Ms Wallis calls a ‘dependence on the international gravy train of the global elite’.

Many country boarding schools cannot revert to their traditional role of offering a spartan but solid education to the children of rectors (though a surprising number of bursaries for the clergy can still be found on school websites). Health and safety burdens, rising teacher salaries and pension contributions, and the facilities arms race, have combined to push fees permanently beyond the reach of the indigenous middle classes.

Meanwhile, European integration, globalisation, and the rise of the BRIC economies provide a ready new pool of parents ready to plug the gap, and the balance has permanently shifted.

According to a recent report by the Financial Times:

Pupils from Hong Kong and mainland China now account for nearly a third of all overseas children at British boarding schools, and the numbers are growing steadily.

Isn’t it time we woke up to such double standards and hypocrisy and realised that what these people really mean when they attack the goals and achievements of liberal feminism, western culture and capitalism is ‘it is bad for you the plebians, but not for us the elite’.

London University bans homophobic and misogynist preacher: a sane decision in an insane world

This is the type of person some Left-wing liberals want to ‘protect’ in the name of multi-culturalism and freedom of speech. No thanks. Your hateful, patriarchal views are not welcome here and not harmonious with humane, democratic, secular values. When will they start banning people from spreading misogynist and patriarchal ideologies too?

preacher

”A preacher has been banned from a London university after likening being gay to having a “disease”.

Imran ibn Mansur, 24, also known as the self-styled Dawah Man who helps people be spiritual “superheroes”, was today banned from appearing at the University of East London.

He has blamed “filthy Western culture” for impulses which should be “supressed” and claimed that homosexuality comes “under the category of ‘obscene, filthy, shameless’.”

The university also banned this week’s event, advertised on Facebook by its Islamic Society, over fears — denied by organisers — that gender segregation could be enforced, after “brothers” and “sisters” were given separate contact points for tickets. It comes six months after another Islamic Society event was banned after being advertised as a “segregated event”.

For more read; http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/london-university-bans-preacher-who-calls-homosexuality-a-filthy-disease-9879579.html

Considering what’s going on over at Ferguson, USA I don’t see many UK Muslims or people of colour or even male homosexuals rioting and publicly protesting about these ‘terrifying’ people. Is it because we’re too liberal and soft on such extremism? Is it because people are afraid of being called Islamaphobic or racist? I suspect both.

Why are there no riots about the shooting of Dillon Taylor? Media race-baiting and racial double standards in the USA

Feeling so grateful I don’t have to live in the US, where police are armed, citizens can freely buy guns, white people can never be victims and the media race-baits people into a riot. Here is an attempt at some balanced analysis in the nightmare politics of what is happening now in Ferguson, USA over the grand jury’s decision there not to indict a white police officer for shooting a black criminal, Brown. Although any wrongful death at the hands of the police is a tragedy, it appears there is a racial double standard at play here. When white man, Dillon Taylor was shot by a non-white US policeman, neither riots nor media frenzy, how come?

‘Critics say there’s a reason for the discrepancy in media coverage: race. Mr. Brown was black and the officer who shot him was white. Mr. Taylor wasn’t black — he’s been described as white and Hispanic — and the officer who shot him Aug. 11 outside a 7-Eleven in South Salt Lake wasn’t white.’

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/aug/25/critics-see-racial-double-standard-in-coverage-of-/#ixzz3K4fH5rgM

dillon taylor shot by a non-white police officermichael brown shot by a white police officer

It’s so obvious to me, and others, that such violent incidents are predominantly about toxic male violence and gun control, not race. As Josh Horowitz eloquently puts it:

”The NRA fully understands the racial dynamic at play here. As long as we can blame something other than guns, America will not have to come to terms with the truth that violence is a complicated phenomenon that is made far more lethal by the easy availability and killing power of firearms. And for an organization with an overwhelmingly conservative, white base, that “something other” is minorities.

The gun lobby is able to pitch this myth because, on the surface, it may seem that gun violence is connected to race. Although African Americans make up only 13 percent of the U.S. population, nearly 40 percent of homicides are committed by African-Americans. However, as I noted above, more sophisticated analyses of the propensity for interpersonal violence show race is not a determinative factor in violent behavior……

I have three suggestions for a more peaceful and free America. First, let’s stop using ugly euphemisms like “thug” to describe human beings who might have become violent for a complex set of reasons that have nothing to do with the color of their skin. Second, since we do have a gun violence problem in the United States, let’s look for evidence-based solutions to deal with the problem, like universal background checks and expanded firearm prohibitions for those at risk of violence (i.e., violent misdemeanants, domestic abusers, alcohol abusers, etc.). Third, let’s acknowledge that blaming gun violence on race (or mental illness) is a lazy and dishonest way of looking at a complicated problem that allows the gun lobby to avoid responsibility for the growing body count in America.’

While Americans shout and scream about race, all the while the NRA (criminals) are laughing all the way to the bank account full of profit from the deaths of many innocent American citizens at the hands of guns.

Progressive Authoritarianism and the Death of Debate

Progressive Authoritarianism & the Death of Debate

‘The arrogance of Western cultural supremacism, it was argued, was the status quo now in need of vigorous radical assault. A commitment to universalism was replaced by the fetishisation of difference and specificity; a belief in egalitarianism gave way to demands for exceptionalism and double-standards (only this time favouring the ‘oppressed’); and the language of emancipation and liberty was replaced by a cult of victimhood, self-pity, and a brooding, masochistic solipsism. “We have nothing to lose but our chains” was drowned out by the resentful injunction “Listen to my suffering”.

In academia, the humanities began a process of decline as the demands of rigorous and fair-minded scholarship gave way to the requirements of a stultifying and increasingly censorious political correctness. The pursuit of objective truth and knowledge fell before endlessly competing claims from subjective ‘lived experiences’ and ‘narratives’, and international solidarity fell before a grotesque cultural relativism, itself informed by a neurotic culture of self-lacerating guilt. The lexicon of political activism – originally developed to identify irrational judgements made about people based on their  unalterable characteristics – assumed a metaphysical dimension. Racism, misogyny, and homophobia were no longer alterable matters of law, belief, and practice – they became immovable structural toxins, against which not even the most broad-minded liberal could be reliably immunised, and to which well-intentioned people were often subject without their knowledge.’

http://jacobinism.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/stigmatise-shame-and-silence.html

Are ‘native’ English speakers always best qualified to proofread or edit the English language?

A common mistake some people make when asking people to edit or proofread their essays, poems or translations etc. is to assume that because someone is a native English speaker (or English is their mother tongue) they have an excellent knowledge and understanding of English grammar and language. Yet, this could not be further from the truth. Many students of English as a Foreign Language have a better understanding of English grammar than native speakers because they had to study it, whereas native speakers generally don’t. In addition, many experts now feel that standards in written and spoken English are declining year by year. Fluency in English language (even as a second language) does not guarantee a person is a qualified expert either.

Decline: Words like 'fortnight', 'cheerio', and 'pussy cat' are also on their way out of general speech

After studying English as a Foreign Language to gain Cambridge/CELTA certification, combined with teaching EFL for over two years and marking student essays (academic as well as general) I realised there is a big difference between being a native speaker and having some expertise on the English language. In 2005, I wrote an essay (using the pseudonym, Tom Smith) about the English language standards of UK exam candidates:

In relation to the GCSE candidates’ general standard of writing, as a part-time lecturer at a university, I had already become aware that many undergraduate students had abysmal reading and writing skills. However, even that did not prepare me for the written skills of your average GCSE candidate. The handwriting, most of the time, resembled that of a five-year-old toddler or a drunk (grotesquely simple or an illegible scrawl). A lack of basic punctuation, such as full stops, commas, capital letters etc, was commonplace. There were countless inarticulate, immature sentences, which did not make any sense to the reader.

The use of text language (such as u instead of you), swearing and inappropriate language and opinions were also prevalent. Spelling was often based on how a word sounds (for example, ‘wimmin’ instead of women, suggesting that many pupils had had very little reading experience. Furthermore, responses to questions often betrayed either, at best, a total lack of knowledge or interest in the subject or, at worst, a startling stupidity and ignorance. For example, the basic question: What is sexism? regularly received responses such as “being addicted to sex”, “a husband not wanting to have sex with his wife” and “being picked on for your sexuality”.

This was confirmed in 2012, by the UK exam regulator, Ofqual, who found A-levels and GCSEs have got easier in the past 10 years and therefore impossible to justify grade inflation.

Others are also concerned by the Americanisation of British English. Researchers believe the digital revolution and America’s growing influence on our culture have dramatically changed the way British people speak:

Language expert Professor Tony McEnery, from the ESRC Centre for Corpus Approaches to Social Science (CASS) at Lancaster University, said: ‘These very early findings suggest the things that are most important to British society are indeed reflected in the amount we talk about them.

‘New technologies like Facebook have really captured our attention, to the extent that, if we’re not using it, we’re probably talking about it.

‘The rise of ‘awesome’ seems to provide evidence of American English’s influence on British speakers.’

These are only the initial findings from a small pilot of the project, named the ‘Spoken British National Corpus 2014’, which is now underway.

Geoffrey Nunberg is more philosophical about it:

The long run will surely prove the linguists right: English will survive whatever “abuses” its current critics complain of. And by that I mean not just that people will go on using English and its descendants in their daily commerce but that they will continue to make art with it as well. Yet it is hard to take comfort in the scholars’ sanguine detachment. We all know what Keynes said about the long run, and in the meantime does it really matter not at all how we choose to speak and write? It may be that my children will use gift and impact as verbs without the slightest compunction (just as I use contact, wondering that anyone ever bothered to object to it). But I can’t overcome the feeling that it is wrong for me to use them in that way and that people of my generation who say “We decided to gift them with a desk set” are in some sense guilty of a moral lapse, whether because they are ignorant or because they are weak. In the face of that conviction, it really doesn’t matter to me whether to gift will eventually prevail, carried on the historical tide. Our glory, Silone said, lies in not having to submit to history….

There is nothing in modern writing about the language that is more pathetic than attempts to fix the blame for the “problem” (whatever the problem is understood to be) on this or that small group. If the English grammatical tradition has declined, this is the result of basic changes in our attitude toward the language, themselves the consequences of far-reaching social changes. It is not a case of the schools having “failed in their duty.” As Richard Lanham argues in his provocative book Style: An Anti-Textbook, “You cannot teach as duty what society does not feel a duty.” Neither are the linguists responsible. Their criticisms of the grammatical tradition are overstated, we will see, but they are much closer to the mark when they describe the contemporary scene, for the mastery of grammar has come to be considered largely a social accomplishment. And the traditionalists like Simon and Newman are even less to blame; they are simply moving into the cultural vacuum.

Before we can talk about how to put grammar back on its moral and intellectual feet, we must consider what grammatical criticism has been all about in the English-speaking world, and how we have come to the present sad state of affairs.

Of course, there is no doubt that a native English speaker is generally a far better authority on the language than someone who is not.  I am neither a linguist nor a grammar expert, but a word of advice before you ask a ‘native’ to proofread or edit your essay, make sure they have a high level knowledge of the grammar and vocabulary first – evidenced either by prior study of English as a Foreign Language or by their own writing and experience!

No True Scotsman: The logical fallacy behind ethnic and religious nationalism

‘No true Tibetan would ever think or do such a thing!’ Sound familiar? Well, every time you say ‘no true…… (nationality/religion) would…. (action/quality)’ it’s a logical fallacy. One of the worst examples of this fallacy being ‘no true woman’ would ever……..!

”No True Scotsman is a logical fallacy by which an individual attempts to avoid being associated with an unpleasant act by asserting that no true member of the group they belong to would do such a thing; this fallacy also applies to defining a term or criteria biasedly as to defend it from counterargument which can be identified as a biased, persuasive, or rhetorical definition. Instead of acknowledging that some members of a group have undesirable characteristics, the fallacy tries to redefine the group to exclude them. Sentences such as “all members of X have desirable trait Y” then become tautologies, because Y becomes a requirement of membership in X.

The fallacy does not occur in defining a group or label narrowly to begin with, but in narrowing it by excluding evidence that contradicts an initially broad definition.”

”Phrases such as “un-American,” “un-Christian” or “inhuman” are widely used in politics and media to distance oneself from a subject, defining them as outside the bounds of what the speaker considers to be truly ‘American,’ ‘Christian’ or ‘human’ behaviour. These phrases strongly suggest the No True Scotsman fallacy, since the use, for example of “un-American” to describe specific political activities by some American citizens implies some special definition of “American” beyond mere nationality. (It is not a fallacy if such a special definition is consistently applied, though that doesn’t make it a sensible definition.)”

So before you open your mouth to utter the words ‘no true…….. would…..’ think again unless you want to appear like an illogical twit! 🙂

For more read:

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/No_True_Scotsman

Or watch this: