Jump to content

The Case Against Democracy

Recommended Posts

Democracy Delusion

How many Islamic republics would you like? How many do you think the world needs? Spreading democracy across the Muslim world—as so many enlightened people say they wish to do—should certainly increase the number. Yet the enthusiasts for planting democracy all over the planet also tend to be the people who dislike Islamic republics and warn endlessly about their likely use as bases for terror.

How on earth are we to make sense of this contradiction? Are we once again in the realm of doublethink, the invariable result of dogma? If so, is the dogma a dangerous one?

I have in the past few years visited several countries where democracy will, if unfettered, favor political Islam. The supposed Cedar Revolution in Lebanon received gushing praise from Western commentators. There was even talk of genuine elections in Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood would be the most likely beneficiary of majority rule. As for the Palestinian entity, the angry irredentists of Hamas undoubtedly won the democratic contest, and their control of Gaza is a clear expression of the people’s will. Did the United States really want a Shia Muslim state in Iraq?

Then there was Pakistan, where Western idealists encouraged the return of the Oxford-educated Benazir Bhutto and her husband, despite their past failures in government, and applauded the removal of the military tyrant Pervez Musharraf. Mrs. Bhutto was foully murdered, an incident that underlined the instability of that unhappy country. But the experiment in democracy continued, and Pakistan has been seething with Islamic revolt. For historical reasons, it has a special army unit trained to mount coups d’etat, and there is little doubt that if the Islamists get out of control, that unit will do its duty again, presumably to the relief of all opponents of Islamofascism—though they may keep their joy to themselves because the result will certainly not be democratic.

Perhaps most interesting of all, it has been fashionable for some time, in advanced foreign-policy circles, to favor the march of democracy in Turkey, which many pretend is a more or less European nation because of its willingness to cooperate in Western alliances such as NATO. Awkwardly, the beneficiaries of this American and European benevolence are not quite what the neoconservatives would have chosen. They are the Law and Justice Party (its Turkish initials are AK), whose leaders are Sunni Islamist militants.

But we are not supposed to mention this. The AK and its leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, are invariably praised by mainstream media and Western politicians for their supposed moderation and economic competence. The competence is real, at least by comparison with those who have gone before, but the moderation is another matter. Turkish membership in the European Union—with the possibility of large subsidies and easier migration of Turkish workers—has long been dangled in front of the Turkish state as its reward for becoming more democratic and more in tune with the human-rights culture of the EU. This process has for many years been a fashionable cause among advanced thinkers in Turkey, Europe, and the United States.

The same people emphatically deplore something sinister known as “the Deep State,” their term for the secular military Turkish establishment, which has several times overthrown democratic governments in modern Turkey—two of them merely incompetent and unpopular, one alarmingly antisecular. The most recent of these—known as “the postmodern coup” because of its bloodlessness—took place just 13 years ago, when the Islamist government of Necmettin Erbakan was forced from office and his Welfare Party banned. Erdogan was then a member of that party, and his support for its cause led to his imprisonment. He has undoubtedly not forgotten, and it seems unlikely that he has forgiven.

One of the effects of the flirtation with the EU has been pressure on this Deep State to restrain itself. It is, in fact, the old Turkish military establishment set up by Mustafa Kemal 90 years ago, aimed at doing to Islam in Turkey pretty much what the neoconservatives would like to do to Islam everywhere—force it out of political life and make it subservient to a secular government. It was this force and power that kept Turkey on the side of the West during the Cold War and has since prevented it from slipping into the militant pro-Muslim camp in the Middle East. But its crude, despotic methods cannot be maintained under the delicate rules of modern European democracy.

Kemal and Stalin are the only modern rulers who have subjugated militant political Islam, unveiled women, and controlled the mullahs. But their ferocity would be impossible now. If there is a middle way between such repression and the return of Turkey to its Muslim past, nobody has yet found it. If they do, it may be incompatible with the 21st-century belief in the goodness of democracy and the sanctity of human rights.

The message to the Turkish military is clear: any more putsches and the EU deal is off. This powerful restraint on the secular generals has greatly increased the confidence of Prime Minister Erdogan, who has several times faced down objections and mutterings from the military leadership. There is little doubt that, without EU intervention, the AK government would have been overthrown some time ago or so badly defeated that it would have been effectively powerless. It is an odd paradox: Western intervention in a secular Muslim state, leading to the weakening of the secular forces and the increasing power of an Islamist party, all in the name of democracy. It is more paradoxical still because the EU’s love for Turkey has cooled, and it is beginning to dawn on Ankara’s politicians that EU membership will never happen. This realization has probably come too late for the generals, now so weakened and isolated politically that they will find it very difficult to act against Erdogan. It has also given a new character to the Erdogan government, which has simultaneously been freed from two obstacles. The prime minister no longer needs to worry about a secular putsch or about wooing the non-Muslim West.

Thanks to this, we may be about to see Turkey undergo its most significant political shift since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in 1922. Having—or so it hopes—tamed the secular forces of the Deep State, and having abandoned hope of acceptance as a European nation, Erdogan’s Turkey is looking elsewhere for friendship. And where might that be?

Erdogan may now be garlanded with Western praise as a “moderate,” but in 1998, he was imprisoned after famously reading in public a poem, much beloved of militant Muslims, containing the following passage: “The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers...” Since coming to power, he has greatly improved his country’s relations with Syria and picked a loud quarrel with Israeli President Shimon Peres, disrupting what had been a rather close alliance between the Jewish state and Turkey. He has also been sidling toward a new friendship with the Iranian regime next door, just as the rigged re-election of President Ahmadinejad has disgusted all who had hoped for freedom in that Islamic Republic.

But most fascinating of all, and all but unnoticed in the West, is Turkey’s internal shift—the extraordinary series of events known as the Ergenekon Affair. The word refers to a valley lost deep in the Altai Mountains, supposedly the origin of the Turkish nation, who were miraculously led out by a gray she-wolf. The story was for many years a favorite of secular nationalists seeking to replace Islam with a patriotic founding myth. But now it is supposed (a little like al-Qaeda, perhaps) to be the unifying name of a conspiracy of military officers, judges, journalists, professors, and reactionary political organizations. The alleged existence of this shadowy secularist spider’s web has been the excuse for repeated waves of arrests, many of them at 4:30 in the morning, of prominent opponents of the Islamization of Turkey. Much of this activity was presumably a response to an attempt by the Constitutional Court to outlaw the AK party. This was the secular state’s answer to the AK’s efforts to overturn a ban on women wearing headscarves on state premises. This seemingly trivial change is immensely important in a country where outward signs of Muslim fervor were banned by Mustafa Kemal before World War II in his attempt to turn Turkey into a modern nation, with a legal system based on Switzerland’s rather than on Sharia and with emancipated women. Now, after years of Muslim subjection, the newly militant Islamic movement sees its chance to re-establish power.

It is tempting to wonder if these events are not a slow-motion version of the Islamic revolution that engulfed Iran in 1979—except for one great difference: Iran was never as fervently Muslim a country as Turkey. While Iran is a largely secular state with an Islamic government, Turkey is the reverse, especially since the huge migration of devout rural Turks into the cities in the prosperous postwar years, particularly the megalopolis of Istanbul, so vast that it appears to stretch forever. A relaxed secularism was always popular in Iran, especially among the middle classes, and is stronger than ever after three decades of narrow theocracy.

But on a recent visit to Istanbul and Ankara during Ramadan, I was struck by the level of piety among almost everyone I met. The strictly observed fast was near universal. A senior journalist whom I interviewed would not even drink a glass of water while we talked. Many do not even swallow their own saliva. The streets, by late afternoon, were worryingly tense as the blood-sugar levels of tens of thousands of drivers who had been fasting since dawn fell and they became bad-tempered and accident-prone. The call to prayer, once all but banished from central Ankara, a modern capital deliberately chosen to be far from the minarets of Istanbul, could be heard clearly at Mustafa Kemal’s grandiose mausoleum, the chief shrine of Turkish secularism. Inch by inch, Kemal’s secular state is being menaced into such weakness that it will be powerless to prevent whatever the AK party is planning next.

It would be absurd if it were not so serious. At one stage, an indictment against alleged Ergenekon conspirators claimed that they had met Dick Cheney to discuss overthrowing the Erdogan government. The plot was supposed to have created the conditions in which a military coup could take place. In recent weeks, similar claims have led to the arrests of several senior retired military commanders, accused of having planned a putsch, in a conspiracy of astonishing, almost childish crudity, back in 2003.

I am amazed that this extraordinary development in this important country has attracted so little attention. I can only conclude that the reason is that it is happening under the flag of democracy and that those who might normally be concerned are trying to convince themselves that Erdogan and his AK party are an Islamic version of Christian Democracy. Most of his enemies, after all, are not conventionally attractive—repressive state actors, secretive military men, reactionary judges, corrupt and incompetent old guard politicians. Perhaps the public relations are for once true and he really does intend no more than the creation of a mildly Islamist nation in which the hijab coexists with a free press, tolerance, and an open society. I doubt it. The process is likely to come to a crisis fairly soon, and then we shall know for certain.

But the real issue goes far deeper and rebounds on the democratic West. If our desire to establish democracy as the test of goodness succeeds, it is bound in some cases to lead to the creation of states we like even less than we liked them when they were despotic. Is it possible that we have misunderstood our own societies and wrongly thought that the exercise of majority rule through democratic vote was the key to their success?

Ever since I observed Russia’s tragicomic transformation from corrupt Soviet state to corrupt gangster democracy, I have wondered if elections are really quite as liberating as we imagine. Long before that, I had noticed the curious status of Hong Kong, until 1997 a British colony with the sketchiest makings of democracy. Yet, especially approached across its border with the Chinese People’s Republic, Hong Kong seemed to have most of the characteristics of a Western society. Its press was free, its courts operated under law, its police were servants, not insolent overlords. Even now, some years after it became a “special administrative region” of China, travelers from Peking immediately feel a weight lift as the train passes the frontier at Lo Wu and everything is not merely cleaner, safer, and more modern, but more free. Yet it is much less democratic than Vladimir Putin’s Russia or Iraq or Iran.

If we were to bottle the thing that makes Hong Kong better than China, or which makes the countries of the Anglosphere so much more free and happy than almost any other territories on the globe, would it be the habit of holding regular elections? Or would it be something more elusive, harder to transport and more difficult to establish?

Democracy has in fact done Western nations few favors in recent years. It has not kept them from embarking on foolish wars. It has not restrained them from suicidal economic blunders. It has done little to empower the people’s desire for less mass immigration or more effective schools. It has above all been feeble when called upon to defend established liberties. In fact, it has often been the enemy of those liberties, as demagogues have sought to win mass support for the excesses of Guantanamo, the reintroduction of torture, and the extension of intrusive surveillance.

It is the very liberties that democracy has recently helped to undermine that are the real spirit of the English-speaking free nations—habeas corpus, now hugely weakened; jury trial, the essential safeguard against arbitrary imprisonment by state power; freedom and pluralism of the press and media; the supremacy of law over power. As for democracy, it only defends freedom where it means that a government can be lawfully and peacefully removed at an election. If there is no opposition party ready to take over the government, if congresses are not adversarial, if parties engage in a private consensus and ignore the people’s concerns, if major legislation can be imposed despite the wishes of parliaments and people by Supreme Courts or Human Rights Courts or by international bodies, democracy does not add up to much if what you really want is freedom.

It is striking that the war on terror has spoken so strongly about democracy and had so little to say about liberty. This must partly be because the alleged war required a suspension, even abolition, of many of the rules of liberty and demanded a new relationship between the individual and the state—perfectly symbolized by the illogical persecution of airline passengers, a scheme whose chief purpose seems to be to accustom as many people as possible to a future in which they will spend more of their lives being ordered about by unquestionable state functionaries.

The other reasons are not so clear, but we are entitled to be a little suspicious. The main characteristics of the modern world seem to be an assault on national sovereignty combined with an increase in the power of states and of supranational agencies. Manipulated democracies, “color” revolutions—in which mob rule is rechristened “people power” because it does what we want it to—are a good way of interfering in sovereign nations without appearing to do so. The evisceration of our own liberties is easier if it is done under a democratic label and seems less significant if democracy is identified as the main safeguard of our rights.

Do those who have supported these processes really understand what they are doing or are they just homeless utopians, disappointed in all their previous longings for a better world, seduced by yet another false hope, unintentionally aiding the very cause they claim to be most deeply against? If this is the triumph of democracy, they can keep it. Liberty, far more than democracy, remains our most precious possession, and we would do well to make sure we still have enough of it to go around at home before we start trying to export it.


Peter Hitchens writes for the London Mail on Sunday. His latest book, The Rage Against God, will be published on May 1 by Zondervan.


Link to post
Share on other sites

Сколько хотели бы Вы исламскиx республик ? Сколько Вы думаете мировые потребности? Распространение демократии через мусульманский мир как, очень много просвещенных людей говорят, что они желают сделать — должно конечно увеличить иx число. Все же энтузиасты того, чтобы привить демократию на всем протяжении планеты также имеют тенденцию быть людьми, которые не любят исламские республики и бесконечно предупреждают об их вероятном использовании для террора.

Как же мы должны понять это противоречие? Мы еще раз находимся в царстве двоемыслия, постоянном результате догмы? Если так, действительно ли догма опасная?

Я посетил в последние несколько лет страны, где демократия, если освобождено, одобрит политический Ислам. Воображаемая Революция Кедра в Ливане получила сентиментальную похвалу от Западных комментаторов. Был даже разговор о нефальсифицированных выборах в Египте, где Братство мусульманин будет наиболее вероятным бенефициарием принципа большинства. Что касается палестинского юридического лица, сердитые ирредентисты Хамаса несомненно выиграли демократическое соревнование, и их контроль Сектора Газа - ясное выражение желания людей. Соединенные Штаты действительно хотели государство мусульманина-шиита в Ираке?

Тогда был Пакистан, где Западные идеалисты поощряли возвращение образованной в Оксфорде Беназир Бхатто и ее мужа, несмотря на их прошлые отказы в правительстве, и приветствовали удаление военного тирана Первеза Мушаррэфа. Госпожа Бхатто была грязно убита, инцидент, который подчеркнул неустойчивость той несчастной страны. Но эксперимент в демократии продолжался, и Пакистан кипел с Исламским восстанием. По историческим причинам у этого есть специальная армейская единица, обучаемая установить государственные перевороты, и есть немного сомнения, что, если Исламисты выходят из-под контроля, что единица сделает свою обязанность снова, по-видимому к облегчению всех противников Islamofascism-хотя, они могут держать свою радость к себе, потому что результат конечно не будет демократичен.

Возможно самый интересный из всех, это было модным в течение некоторого времени, в продвинутых кругах внешней политики, чтобы одобрить марш демократии в Турции, которую многие симулируют, более или менее европейская нация из-за ее готовности сотрудничать в Западных союзах, таких как НАТО. Неловко, бенефициарии этой американской и европейской благосклонности не совсем, что выбрали бы неоконсерваторы. Они - Сторона Закона и Правосудия (ее турецкие инициалы - AK), чьи лидеры - бойцы Исламиста Суннита.

Но мы, как предполагается, не упоминаем это. AK и его лидера, Эрдогэна, неизменно хвалят господствующие СМИ и Западные политические деятели для их воображаемой умерености и экономической компетентности. Компетентность реальна, по крайней мере в сравнении с теми, кто был прежде, но умереность - другой вопрос. Турецкое членство в европейском союзе — с возможностью больших субсидий и более легким перемещением турецких рабочих, долго свисал перед турецким государством как его награда за становление более демократичным и больше в согласии с культурой в области прав человека ЕС. Этот процесс много лет был модной темой среди продвинутых мыслителей в Турции, Европе, и Соединенных Штатах.

Те же самые люди решительно сожалеют кое о чем зловещем, известном как “Deep State,” термин для светского военного турецкого образования, которое несколько раз свергло демократические правительства в современной Турции, два из них просто некомпетентный и непопулярный, один тревожно антисветский. Последний из них — известный как “постсовременный удачный ход” из-за его бескровности — имел место только 13 лет назад, когда Исламистское правительство Necmettin Erbakan было вынуждено уступить власть и его запрещенной Стороны Благосостояния. Erdogan был тогда членом той стороны, и его поддержка по ее причине привела к его заключению. Он несомненно не забыл, и кажется маловероятным, что он простил.

Один из эффектов флирта с ЕС был давлением на это Deep state, чтобы ограничить себя. Это - фактически, старое турецкое военное учреждение, настроенное Mustafa Kemal 90 лет назад, нацеленный на выполнение к Исламу в Турции в значительной степени, что неоконсерваторы хотели бы сделать к Исламу, всюду-вызывают это из политической жизни и делают это подвластным светскому правительству. Именно эта сила и власть держали Турцию на стороне Запада во время холодной войны и с тех пор препятствовали тому, чтобы это проскользнуло в воинственный промусульманский лагерь на Ближнем Востоке. Но его сырые, деспотические методы не могут быть поддержаны согласно тонким правилам современной европейской демократии.

Kemal и Сталин - единственные современные правители, которые поработили воинственный политический Ислам, представили женщин, и управляли муллами. Но их свирепость была бы невозможна теперь. Если есть средний путь между такой репрессией и возвращением Турции к его мусульманскому прошлому, никто еще не нашел это. Если они делают, это может быть несовместимо с верой 21-ого столетия в совершенство демократии и неприкосновенность прав человека.

Сообщение турецким вооруженным силам ясно: больше путчи и сделка ЕС выключены. Эта сильная сдержанность на светских генералах очень увеличила уверенность Премьер-министра Эрдогэна, который несколько раз осадил возражения и бормотание от военного лидерства. Есть немного сомнения, что без вмешательства ЕС правительство AK было бы свергаемым некоторое время назад или так ужасно побеждено, что это будет эффективно бессильно. Это - нечетный парадокс: Западное вмешательство в светском мусульманском государстве, приводя к ослаблению светских сил и увеличивающейся власти Исламистской стороны, всех от имени демократии. Это более парадоксально все еще, потому что любовь ЕС к Турции охладилась, и это начинает рассветать на политических деятелях Анкары, что членство ЕС никогда не будет случаться. Эта реализация вероятно прибыла слишком поздно для генералов, теперь столь слабел и изолированный политически, что они найдут очень трудным действовать против Erdogan. Это также дало новый характер правительству Erdogan, которое было одновременно освобождено от двух препятствий. Премьер-министр больше не должен волноваться о светском путче или об ухаживании немусульманского Запада.

Благодаря этому мы можем собираться видеть, что Турция подвергается своему самому существенному политическому изменению начиная с краха Османской империи в 1922. Имея — или так прирученное надеждами светские силы Глубокого государства, и оставлявший надежду на принятие как европейская нация, Турция Эрдогэна в другом месте ищет дружбу. И где это могло бы быть?

Erdogan может теперь быть украшен Западной похвалой как "умеренный", но в 1998, он был заключен в тюрьму после известного чтения публично стихотворения, большого количества возлюбленного воинственных мусульман, содержа следующий проход: “мечети - наши бараки, купола наши шлемы, минареты наши штыки и верующий наши солдаты...” Начиная с прихода к власти он очень улучшил отношения своей страны с Сирией и выбрал громкую ссору с израильским Президентом Шимоном Пересом, разрушая, что было скорее близким союзом между еврейским государством и Турцией. Он также проходил украдкой к новой дружбе с иранским режимом по соседству, так же, как манипулируемое переизбрание Президента Ахмэдинеджеда имеет чувствующий отвращение все, кто надеялся на свободу в той исламской республике.

Но самый захватывающий из всех, и почти незамеченный на Западе, внутренний переход Турции экстраординарный ряд событий, известных как Дело Ergenekon. Слово обращается к долине, потерянной глубоко в Алтайских Горах, возможно происхождение турецкой нации, кто был чудесно выведен серой волчицей. История была много лет фаворитом светских националистов, стремящихся заменять Ислам патриотическим мифом об основании. Но теперь это, как предполагается, (немного как Аль-Каида, возможно) название объединения заговора офицеров, судей, журналистов, профессоров, и реакционных политических организаций. Предполагаемое существование этой темной сети паука атеиста было оправданием за повторные волны арестов, многих из них в 4:30 утром, видных противников Исламизации Турции. Большая часть этой деятельности была по-видимому ответом на попытку Конституционного суда, чтобы объявить вне закона сторону AK. Это было ответом светского государства на усилия AK отменить запрет на женщинах, носящих косынки по государственному помещению. Это по-видимому тривиальное изменение очень важно в стране, где признаки направленные наружу мусульманского пыла были запрещены Mustafa Kemal перед Второй мировой войной в его попытке превратить Турцию в современную нацию, с правовой системой, основанной на Швейцарии, а не на Sharia и с освобожденными женщинами. Теперь, после лет мусульманского подчинения, недавно воинственное Исламское движение видит свой шанс восстановить власть.

Заманчиво задаться вопросом, не являются ли эти события версией замедленной съемки Исламской революции, которая охватывала Иран в 1979 — за исключением одного большого различия: Иран никогда не был так пылко мусульманской страной как Турцией. В то время как Иран - в значительной степени светское государство с Исламским правительством, Турция - перемена, тем более, что огромное перемещение набожных сельских Турок в города в преуспевающих послевоенных годах, особенно мегалополис Стамбула, настолько обширного, что это, кажется, простирается навсегда. Смягченный атеизм был всегда популярным в Иране, особенно среди средних классов, и более силен чем после трех десятилетий узкой теократии.

Но на недавнем посещении Стамбула и Анкары во время Рамадана, я был поражен уровнем благочестия среди почти всех, которые я встретил. Строго наблюдаемый быстрый было рядом универсально. Старший журналист, у которого я взял интервью, не будет даже пить стакан воды, в то время как мы говорили. Многие даже не глотают их собственную слюну. Улицы, к концу дня, были беспокойно временем как уровнями сахара в крови десятков тысяч водителей, которые постились, так как рассвет упал, и они стали злыми и невезучими. Звонок в молитву, однажды почти выслано из центральной Анкары, современный капитал, преднамеренно выбранный, чтобы быть далеким от минаретов Стамбула, можно было услышать ясно в грандиозном мавзолее Мастэфы Кемэла, главной святыне турецкого атеизма. Дюйм дюймом, светское государство Кемэла под угрозой в такую слабость, которую будет бессильно предотвратить независимо от того, что сторона AK планирует затем.

Было бы абсурдно, если бы это не было настолько серьезно. Однажды, обвинительный акт против предполагаемых заговорщиков Ergenekon утверждал, что они встретили Дика Чени, чтобы обсудить свержение правительства Erdogan. Заговор, как предполагалось, создал условия, в которых мог иметь место военный переворот. В последние недели, подобные требования привели к арестам нескольких старших отставных военных начальников, обвиняемых в том, что запланировали путч, в заговоре удивительной, почти ребяческой необработанности, назад в 2003.

Я поражен, что это экстраординарное развитие в этой важной стране привлекло такое небольшое внимание. Я могу только завершить, что причина состоит в том, что это случается под флагом демократии и что те, кто мог бы обычно быть заинтересован, пытаются убедить себя, что Erdogan и его сторона AK - Исламская версия христианской Демократии. Большинство его врагов, в конце концов, не традиционно привлекательно-репрессивные государственные актеры, скрытные военные мужчины, реакционные судьи, коррумпированные и некомпетентные политические деятели старой гвардии. Возможно связи с общественностью на этот раз верны, и он действительно предназначает не больше, чем создание мягко Исламистской нации, в которой hijab сосуществует со свободной прессой, терпимостью, и открытым обществом. Я сомневаюсь относительно этого. Процесс, вероятно, прибудет в кризис справедливо скоро, и затем мы будем знать наверняка.

Но реальная проблема идет намного глубже и восстановления на демократическом Западе. Если наше желание установить демократию как тест совершенства преуспевает, это обязано в некоторых случаях привести к созданию государств, нам нравятся даже меньше, чем нам понравились они, когда они были деспотичны. Действительно ли возможно, что мы неправильно поняли наши собственные общества и неправильно думали, что осуществление принципа большинства через демократическое голосование ключ было к их успеху?

С тех пор, как я наблюдал, что трагикомическое преобразование России от коррумпированного советского государства развратило демократию гангстера, я задался вопросом, освобождают ли выборы действительно весьма столь же, как мы воображаем. Перед этим я заметил любопытный статус Гонконга, до 1997 британская колония с самыми отрывочными созданиями демократии. Все же, особенно приближенный через его границу с китайской Народной республикой, у Гонконга, казалось, было большинство особенностей Западного общества. Его пресса была свободна, его суды, которыми управляют согласно закону, его полицейские были слугами, не наглыми повелителями. Даже теперь, спустя несколько лет после того, как это стало “специальной административной областью” Китая, путешественники из Пекина немедленно чувствуют лифт веса, поскольку поезд передает границу в Ло Ву, и все не просто более чисто, более безопасно, и более современно, но более свободно. Все же это намного менее демократично чем Россия Владимира Путина или Ирак или Иран.

Если мы должны были разлить в бутылки вещь, которая делает Гонконг лучше чем Китай, или которая делает страны настолько более свободного Anglosphere и счастливый чем почти любые другие территории на земном шаре, это была бы привычка к проведению регулярных выборов? Или это было бы кое-что более неуловимое, тяжелее чтобы транспортировать и более трудный установить?

Демократия фактически сделала Западные нации немного пользы в последние годы. Это не препятствовало им предпринимать глупые войны. Это не ограничило их от убийственных экономических грубых ошибок. Это сделало немного, чтобы уполномочить желание людей меньшей массовой иммиграции или более эффективных школ. Это прежде всего было слабо когда призвано защитить установленные привилегии. Фактически, это часто был враг тех привилегий, поскольку демагоги стремились завоевать массовую поддержку для излишков Гуантанамо, повторного включения в состав пытки, и расширения навязчивого наблюдения.

Это - самые привилегии, которые демократия недавно помогла подорвать, которые являются реальным духом Англоговорящего свободного судебного приказа о передаче арестованного в суд наций, теперь чрезвычайно ослабленного; суд присяжных, существенная гарантия против произвольного заключения государственной властью; свобода и плюрализм прессы и СМИ; превосходство закона по власти. Что касается демократии, это только защищает свободу, где это означает, что правительство может быть законно и мирно удалено при выборах. Если нет никакой оппозиционной партии, готовой одурачить правительство, если конгрессы не являются соперничающими, если стороны участвуют в частном согласии и игнорируют проблемы людей, если главное законодательство может быть наложено несмотря на пожелания парламентов и людей Верховными Судами или Судами по правам человека или международными организациями, демократия не составляет в целом много, если то, что Вы действительно хотите, является свободой.

Поразительно, что война с террором говорила так настоятельно о демократии и имела так немного, чтобы сказать о свободе. Это должно частично быть то, потому что предполагаемая война потребовала приостановки, даже отмены, многих из правил свободы и потребовала новые отношения между человеком и государством отлично, символизируемым нелогичным преследованием пассажиров авиалинии, схема, главная цель которой, кажется, чтобы приучить так много людей насколько возможно к будущему, в котором они потратят больше своих жизней, приказываемых неоспоримыми государственными функционерами.

Другие причины не настолько ясны, но мы наделены правом быть немного подозрительными. Главные особенности современного мира, кажется, нападение на государственный суверенитет, объединенный с увеличением власти государств и наднациональных агентств. Демократические государства, которыми управляют, "цветные" революции — в котором правило толпы повторно крестят “власть людей”, потому что это делает то, что мы хотим это к — являются хорошим способом вмешаться в суверенные государства, не представляясь делать так. evisceration наших собственных привилегий легче, если он сделан под демократическим лейблом и кажется менее существенным, если демократия идентифицирована как главная гарантия наших прав.

Те, кто поддержал эти процессы, действительно понимают то, что они делают или являются ими только бездомный utopians, разочарованный во всей их предыдущей тоске к лучшему миру, обольщенному еще одной ложной надеждой, неумышленно помогая самой причине, против которой они утверждают, что были наиболее глубоко? Если это - триумф демократии, они могут держать это. Свобода, намного больше чем демократия, остается нашим самым драгоценным владением, и мы преуспели бы, чтобы удостовериться, что у нас все еще есть достаточно этого, чтобы пойти вокруг дома прежде, чем мы начнем пытаться экспортировать это.


Link to post
Share on other sites

На отрицавшего Холокост священника наложили обет молчания

Католическое братство Святого Пия запретило своему члену британскому священнику Ричарду Вильямсону любые публичные выступления в связи с его нашумевшими высказываниями, связанными с отрицанием Холокоста, сообщает издание Zeit. В случае нарушения "настоятельного приказа" вышестоящих ему грозит исключение.

Непосредственной причиной для такого шага со стороны руководителей братства стал судебный процесс по делу Вильямсона, который должен начаться 16 апреля в немецком Регенсбурге. 14 апреля Вильямсон через своего адвоката сообщил, что не явится на процесс, однако причин не назвал.

Между тем, как стало известно изданию Zeit, еще в начале марта генеральный секретарь братства Святого Пия, отец Кристиан Тувено (Christian Thouvenot) послал Ричарду Вильямсону от имени настоятеля братства письмо, в котором "настоятельно советовал" ему не приезжать на процесс в Регенсбурге.

Кроме того, в указанном письме Вильямсону запрещалось давать публичные интервью на какие-либо темы, кроме тех, что непосредственно связаны с вопросами веры. Однако даже для этих интервью священник должен в будущем обращаться за разрешением к руководству братства.

Братство Святого Пия также потребовало от Вильямсона прекратить какую-либо деятельность в интернете, закрыть свой домашний сайт и не вести блога. "Настоятель требует, чтобы вы прекратили общение по интернету, будь то в блоге, на форуме или на сайте", - говорится в письме. Более того, от Ричарда Вильямсона потребовали сменить адрес электронной почты и впредь пользоваться новым, который ему предоставит руководство братства.

Вероятно, что интернет-запрет для Вильямсона связан с появившейся в немецких СМИ информацией, что, даже попав под осуждение Ватикана за свои высказывания об отрицании Холокоста, британский священник не только не отказался от своих взглядов, но и продолжал их пропагандировать. В распоряжение Spiegel, в частности, попала недавняя электронная переписка Вильямсона, в которой он утверждал, что "смерть шести миллионов в газовых камерах является грандиозной ложью".

Напомним, что в январе 2009 года Ричард Вильямсон, находившийся в Регенсбурге на семинаре священнослужителей Братства Святого Пия, заявил в интервью одному из шведских телеканалов, что число уничтоженных нацистами евреев составляет не шесть миллионов, а 200-300 тысяч. При этом, по мнению Вильямсона, ни один из них якобы не погиб в газовых камерах. Дело получило широкий резонанс. Прокуратура наложила на священника штраф в размере 12 тысяч евро по обвинению в разжигании межнациональной розни, однако он обжаловал это решение, и, таким образом, дело попало в суд Регенсбурга.


Link to post
Share on other sites

Отрицавшего Холокост священника оштрафовали на 10 тысяч евро


Немецкий суд признал британского священника Ричарда Вильямсона виновным в разжигании расовой ненависти, сообщает AFP. За высказывания, связанные с отрицанием Холокоста, епископа оштрафовали на 10 тысяч евро. Сам Вильямсон 14 апреля заявил, что не будет присутствовать на судебном заседании, где рассматривается его дело.

Поводом для судебного разбирательства стали высказывания священника, сделанные в январе 2009 года в Регенсбурге на семинаре священнослужителей Братства Святого Пия. В интервью шведскому телеканалу Ричард Вильямсон заявил, что число уничтоженных нацистами евреев составляет 200-300 тысяч. При этом никто из них не погиб в газовых камерах.

Прокуратура Регенсбурга обвинила Вильямсона в разжигании расовой ненависти и обязала его выплатить штраф в размере 12 тысяч евро. Священник обжаловал это решение, в связи с чем дело перешло в суд. Накануне заседания стало известно, что католическое братство Святого Пия запретило Вильямсону любые публичные выступления. В случае нарушения приказа священнику грозит исключение из братства.

Помимо этого Ричарду Вильямсону запретили давать публичные интервью на темы, не связанные с вопросами веры. Также от священника потребовали прекратить всю деятельность в интернете. Несмотря на запреты и судебный иск Вильямсон не отказался от своих убеждений. При этом он принес извинения за свои высказывания в интервью шведскому телеканалу.

В результате Холокоста было уничтожено около шести миллионов евреев. В ряде стран отрицание Холокоста является уголовным преступлением.


Link to post
Share on other sites


On 3 April, the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) announced that it was joining the National Union of Teachers (NUT) to recommend boycotting KS2 SATs. I’d better explain all these acronyms—or IBEATAs.

This alphabet soup signifies that Britain’s largest teaching unions have urged their members not to administer the forthcoming tests for literacy and numeracy (Standard Assessment Tests) for Key Stage 2 pupils (those aged around 11). They feel that SATs “humiliate” pupils, encourage teachers to concentrate on English and maths, and that SATs are used to compile the league tables which rank schools by educational prowess. That there should be qualitative differences between schools and that parents should make hurtful choices based on these differences is an especial affront to the appropriately-named Christine Blower, NUT General Secretary.

Ms. Blower has long combined pedagogy with priggery. According to the Guardian, she originally intended to be a probation officer, but became a teacher instead so she could “first work with normal children.” She later specialized in children at risk of being put into care or custody—an interest she has apparently also pursued in her political career.

In 1999, the NUT’s then general secretary told members that Christine (then trying to unseat him), “…is controlled and supported by a group of extreme Left organizations.”

Foiled in this coup, Christine switched her sights higher. In 2000, she stood for election to the London Assembly on behalf of the Trotskyite London Socialist Alliance. Her affiliation was given as “NUT”, and unluckily 97.4 percent of West London’s electors appear to have agreed with this self-assessment.

The wider world was obviously not yet ready for her, so she unselfishly threw herself back into the enthralling world of teacher unions. By 2005, she was NUT’s deputy general secretary, becoming general secretary in 2008. She has subsequently devoted herself to ensuring that the union focuses on whatever is of the greatest importance to its 294,000 undervalued, bureaucracy-inundated members. Installment after compelling installment of “NUT News” reveals the depth of her insight into the very burningest issues:

* Challenging Homo and Transphobia

* Discrimination and Harassment

* Disabled Teachers (“It is high time for medical fitness regulations to be removed”)

* Change Trade Not our Climate

* Show Racism the Red Card

* Football and Freedom (possibly related to the former)

* Robin Hood Tax Campaign

* Bringing Down Barriers

Teachers who might otherwise fritter away their time teaching Reading, ‘Riting and ‘Rithmetic can instead “Gear up for the G20 Protests”, “Vote to keep out the BNP”, “Take part in bringing global citizenship to life” or protest against the “Imminent execution of Iranian-Kurdish teacher trade unionist.” Those who have an awful lot of time to spare between now and 2015 can even help the NUT secure “a primary education for every child in the world.”

As if all these crusades were not educational enough, there are innumerable high society occasions—the Black Teachers Conference, the Fred & Anne Jarvis Award, International Women’s Day reception and the Hope Not Hate concert (a.k.a. Hope Not Experience) featuring those well-known megastars the Screaming Bluejays. Members can keep tabs on all these valuable campaigns using the thoughtfully-provided “Equality Wall Planner”, while those who find it all too difficult can attend the module on “Teacher Mental Health—The Impact of Leadership and Mangement” (sic).

Christine’s commitment to intergalactic ishoos is all the more admirable because she has had to overcome considerable personal underprivilege. She is described by her friends at the Guardian as looking like “a cross between Rosa Luxembourg and Rose West”, and “not a rousing or inspiring speaker”—and by NUT allies as “not very courageous, not very deep-thinking.” Meanwhile, enemies call her “a disgrace to the profession” or, more kindly, someone who “attracts attention—and a few sniggers.”

She steels herself against such uncalled-for cattiness by relaxing with “her partner, Den, also an NUT member” and by wearing hats—but even this last harmless pursuit has attracted the opprobrium of the unenlightened, with one of her more mechanically-minded detractors observing, “There’s not much going on under that bonnet!”

We who relish invigilating idiocy can only hope that our heroine will not be deterred—and that we still have in store many more of Ms Blower’s oh-so-valuable ventilations.


Link to post
Share on other sites

It Is Now Official: The U.S. Is a Police State

by Paul Craig Roberts


Americans have been losing the protection of law for years. In the 21st century the loss of legal protections accelerated with the Bush administration’s “war on terror,” which continues under the Obama administration and is essentially a war on the Constitution and U.S. civil liberties.

The Bush regime was determined to vitiate habeas corpus in order to hold people indefinitely without bringing charges. The regime had acquired hundreds of prisoners by paying a bounty for “terrorists.” Afghan warlords and thugs responded to the financial incentive by grabbing unprotected people and selling them to the Americans.

The Bush regime needed to hold the prisoners without charges because it had no evidence against the people and did not want to admit that the U.S. government had stupidly paid warlords and thugs to kidnap innocent people. In addition, the Bush regime needed “terrorists” prisoners in order to prove that there was a terrorist threat.

As there was no evidence against the “detainees” (most have been released without charges after years of detention and abuse), the U.S. government needed a way around U.S. and international laws against torture in order that the government could produce evidence via self-incrimination. The Bush regime found inhumane and totalitarian-minded lawyers and put them to work at the U.S. Department of Justice (sic) to invent arguments that the Bush regime did not need to obey the law.

The Bush regime created a new classification for its detainees that it used to justify denying legal protection and due process to the detainees. As the detainees were not U.S. citizens and were demonized by the regime as “the 760 most dangerous men on earth,” there was little public outcry over the regime’s unconstitutional and inhumane actions.

As our Founding Fathers and a long list of scholars warned, once civil liberties are breached, they are breached for all. Soon U.S. citizens were being held indefinitely in violation of their habeas corpus rights. Dr. Aafia Siddiqui an American citizen of Pakistani origin might have been the first.

Dr. Siddiqui, a scientist educated at MIT and Brandeis University, was seized in Pakistan for no known reason, sent to Afghanistan, and was held secretly for five years in the U.S. military’s notorious Bagram prison in Afghanistan. Her three young children were with her at the time she was abducted, one an eight-month old baby. She has no idea what has become of her two youngest children. Her oldest child, 7 years old, was also incarcerated in Bagram and subjected to similar abuse and horrors.

Siddiqui has never been charged with any terrorism-related offense. A British journalist, hearing her piercing screams as she was being tortured, disclosed her presence. An embarrassed U.S. government responded to the disclosure by sending Siddiqui to the U.S. for trial on the trumped-up charge that while a captive, she grabbed a U.S. soldier’s rifle and fired two shots attempting to shoot him. The charge apparently originated as a U.S. soldier’s excuse for shooting Dr. Siddiqui twice in the stomach resulting in her near death.

On February 4, Dr. Siddiqui was convicted by a New York jury for attempted murder. The only evidence presented against her was the charge itself and an unsubstantiated claim that she had once taken a pistol-firing course at an American firing range. No evidence was presented of her fingerprints on the rifle that this frail and broken 100-pound woman had allegedly seized from an American soldier. No evidence was presented that a weapon was fired, no bullets, no shell casings, no bullet holes. Just an accusation.

Wikipedia has this to say about the trial: “The trial took an unusual turn when an FBI official asserted that the fingerprints taken from the rifle, which was purportedly used by Aafia to shoot at the U.S. interrogators, did not match hers.”

An ignorant and bigoted American jury convicted her for being a Muslim. This is the kind of “justice” that always results when the state hypes fear and demonizes a group.

The people who should have been on trial are the people who abducted her, disappeared her young children, shipped her across international borders, violated her civil liberties, tortured her apparently for the fun of it, raped her, and attempted to murder her with two gunshots to her stomach. Instead, the victim was put on trial and convicted.

This is the unmistakable hallmark of a police state. And this victim is an American citizen.

Anyone can be next. Indeed, on February 3 Dennis Blair, director of National Intelligence told the House Intelligence Committee that it was now “defined policy” that the U.S. government can murder its own citizens on the sole basis of someone in the government’s judgment that an American is a threat. No arrest, no trial, no conviction, just execution on suspicion of being a threat.

This shows how far the police state has advanced. A presidential appointee in the Obama administration tells an important committee of Congress that the executive branch has decided that it can murder American citizens abroad if it thinks they are a threat.

I can hear readers saying the government might as well kill Americans abroad as it kills them at home–Waco, Ruby Ridge, the Black Panthers.

Yes, the U.S. government has murdered its citizens, but Dennis Blair’s “defined policy” is a bold new development. The government, of course, denies that it intended to kill the Branch Davidians, Randy Weaver’s wife and child, or the Black Panthers. The government says that Waco was a terrible tragedy, an unintended result brought on by the Branch Davidians themselves. The government says that Ruby Ridge was Randy Weaver’s fault for not appearing in court on a day that had been miscommunicated to him, The Black Panthers, the government says, were dangerous criminals who insisted on a shoot-out.

In no previous death of a U.S. citizen by the hands of the U.S. government has the government claimed the right to kill Americans without arrest, trial, and conviction of a capital crime.

In contrast, Dennis Blair has told the U.S. Congress that the executive branch has assumed the right to murder Americans who it deems a “threat.”

What defines “threat”? Who will make the decision? What it means is that the government will murder whomever it chooses.

There is no more complete or compelling evidence of a police state than the government announcing that it will murder its own citizens if it views them as a “threat.”

Ironic, isn’t it, that “the war on terror” to make us safe ends in a police state with the government declaring the right to murder American citizens who it regards as a threat.


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tolerance Mafia

By W. James Antle III

Ken Silverstein is an unlikely ally for those trying to get control of the nation’s borders. A liberal journalist, he finds the Minutemen “crackpots” and Arizona’s immigration-hawk Sheriff Joe Arpaio a “kook” whose activities are “reprehensible.” Silverstein’s wife is Dominican, and he freely admits he does not know whether she originally came to America legally. Yet there he was at the National Press Club on a panel sponsored by the restrictionist Center for Immigration Studies (CIS).

“I have different immigration views than the center,” Silverstein said in his presentation. “But I don’t believe I have a monopoly on wisdom.” What he does believe is that free speech is too important to be shouted down by ersatz civil-rights organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center. “The SPLC squelches free speech and free debate,” Silverstein argued. And, he would add, they raise an awful lot of money from unsuspecting liberals in the process.

Silverstein was there to mark the release of a powerful CIS report entitled “Immigration and the SPLC: How the Southern Poverty Law Center Invented a Smear, Served La Raza, Manipulated the Press, and Duped its Donors.” On that last point, Silverstein is something of an expert: he wrote “The Church of Morris Dees” story for Harper’s a decade ago documenting how Dees, the SPLC’s founder, had enriched himself by posing as a defender of racial equality against a rising tide of hate.

What calling could be nobler than working against the cross-burning knuckle-draggers of the Ku Klux Klan? But the country that elected Barack Obama president is not the America of “Mississippi Burning.” Organizations like the Klan have been thoroughly marginalized, their racist ideologies soundly rejected by Americans of all colors and creeds. To raise money as if they constitute anything more than an unpleasant reminder of our Jim Crow past is to perpetuate a fraud.

That’s why Dees and his merry band of politically correct enforcers have had to branch out, endlessly expanding the list of “hate groups” to include perfectly mainstream organizations with which they disagree. Advocates of reduced immigration levels and stronger border security are high on the SPLC’s list of targets because of the obvious racial component of the immigration issue.

Locating cranks who have made ill-tempered remarks about immigrants is not terribly difficult work for highly trained members of the thought police. But Morris Dees’s marauders have not been content to stop there. In late 2007, the SPLC labeled the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) a hate group. This troubling designation by extension tarred organizations like CIS and Roy Beck’s NumbersUSA—and quickly achieved its intended chilling effect on the immigration debate.

The SPLC’s smear became the centerpiece of the National Council of La Raza’s “Stop the Hate” campaign. “Hate” was loosely defined as any position that differed from La Raza’s advocacy of loose borders and amnesty for illegal immigrants. La Raza used the SPLC’s “findings” to try to silence its critics, and the mainstream media, always eager to portray conservatives as racists, cheerfully repeated the slur in its woefully biased coverage of the amnesty debate. Stop the Hate claimed its biggest scalp when Lou Dobbs stepped away from his microphone at CNN—by most accounts, a voluntary move, but one hastened by the network’s growing discomfort with the controversy surrounding Dobbs’s outspoken views on immigration.

FAIR, CIS, and NumbersUSA are far from hate groups. They are wonky, white-paper-generating organizations committed to nothing more controversial than cutting back immigration from its post-1965 high of 1 million new immigrants a year to the more traditional level of 300,000. They shy away from the more racially charged aspects of the debate, which reflects their roots in the wing of the immigration-restrictionist movement animated primarily by environmental and economic concerns rather than blood and soil.

But such facts cannot be allowed to get in the way of a good fundraising mailing—or a malicious attempt to drum certain viewpoints out of polite society. In its fevered writings about immigration reformers, the SPLC has concocted conspiracies so elaborate they would raise eyebrows within the John Birch Society. While the Birchers have David Rockefeller, the SPLC has Michigan environmental activist John Tanton: the “puppeteer” supposedly pulling the strings whenever leading immigration reformers Mark Kirkorian and Roy Beck speak, the all-purpose explanation for why seemingly colorblind arguments against mass immigration can be readily dismissed as thinly disguised racism.

Krikorian’s CIS decided to strike back. Senior fellow Jerry Kammer, a respected journalist who won a Pulitzer Prize for helping to uncover the Congressman Duke Cunningham bribery scandal, wrote their report slashing much of the SPLC’s work to ribbons. “The SPLC’s decision to smear FAIR was the work of a kangaroo court, one convened to reach a pre-determined verdict by inventing or distorting evidence,” Kammer wrote. “The ‘Stop the Hate’ campaign would more accurately be labeled as a campaign to ‘Stop the Debate.’” The tactic is so effective that liberals have begun deploying it in debates on issues with no obvious racial connotations—healthcare reform, deficit spending, and Tea Party protests.

Without denying either the SPLC’s good early work on civil rights or the existence of bad actors in the immigration-reform movement, Kammer shows that Dees is no nonpartisan, dispassionate observer of the immigration debate, which may explain why the SPLC only detects hate on one side of the issue despite ample evidence of racist remarks by La Raza radicals. Kammer also skillfully debunks the SPLC’s immigration conspiracy theory, conceding that Tanton has occasionally been reckless in his statements and associations but documenting that the SPLC has inflated both the charges against the early immigration reformer and his influence on the contemporary movement.

Kammer’s report also focuses on an aspect of the SPLC long denounced by liberal magazines and newspapers—the excessive fundraising that has won Morris Dees a place in the Direct Marketing Association Hall of Fame but no comparable honor in the civil-rights movement. The SPLC took in over $32 million in contributions in 2008, an average of $88,755 per day. At the end of the 2008 fiscal year, the SPLC had more than $174 million in the bank even after its investments lost over $48 million in the financial crisis.

The CIS report claims Dees promised to stop his profligate fundraising after the SPLC’s endowment exceeded $50 million, but continued shaking the money tree after it reached $200 million. The group’s lavish headquarters, nicknamed the “Poverty Pentagon,” have made it a laughingstock among erstwhile allies on the Left. The Nation called Dees “a millionaire huckster”; left-wing journalist Alexander Coburn dubbed him the “arch-salesman of hatemongering.” “Morris Dees does not need your financial support,” Silverstein wrote in Harper’s. “The SPLC is already the wealthiest civil rights group in America. … The American Institute of Philanthropy gives the SPLC one of the worst ratings of any group it monitors.”

“Hate sells; poor people don’t, which is why readers who go to the SPLC’s website will find only a handful of cases on such non-lucrative causes as fair housing, worker safety, or healthcare, many of those from the 1970s and 1980s,” JoAnn Wypijewski wrote in The Nation in 2001. “Why the organization continues to keep ‘Poverty’ (or even ‘Law’) in its name can be ascribed only to nostalgia or a cynical understanding of the marketing possibilities in class guilt.” At the CIS event, Silverstein quoted a civil-rights attorney as calling Dees’s operation “the Jim and Tammy Faye Baker of the civil-rights movement. And I don’t mean to demean Jim and Tammy Faye.”

Even some of the SPLC’s legitimate civil-rights work was exploited for profit. In 1987, Dees won a $7 million verdict against a Klan group that had brutally murdered a young black man. The Montgomery Advertiser reported that the SPLC “used nationwide fund-raising letters to create the image of a mighty Klan that actually had $7 million” to pay the victim’s mother. In fact, the woman only received about $52,000, most of which she had to pay back to the SPLC, which had given her an interest-free loan. Meanwhile, the SPLC raised $9 million in two years from mailings highlighting her case.

The SPLC’s antics, ranging from the above outrage to the merely absurd—Dees signing fundraising letters to Jewish potential donors as “Morris Seligman Dees”—harm more than guilty liberals’ wallets. To the extent that our current immigration policy is not in the national interest, the SPLC stands in the way of a solution. And it may ultimately foster the racism it claims to oppose.

Consider the case of Carol Swain, an African-American law professor at Vanderbilt who has been sounding the alarm about “the new white nationalism.” Because she approaches the subject from a scholarly rather than a fundraising perspective, she has raised the SPLC’s hackles. “When my face was smeared across the papers in my state with accusations that I was an apologist for white supremacy, I thought it was time to get involved,” Swain said at the CIS press conference. Driving the immigration debate underground, she argued, will silence legitimate restrictionists and empower genuine racists.

Swain concluded, “If we are concerned about extremists, the best thing we can do is include their voices in the dialogue. … [The SPLC] is actually making more converts to extremist organizations than they would if they let them talk about their concerns.” For years, Morris Dees has been expanding the number of hate groups on his fundraising lists. It would be a tragic result if his tactics helped them proliferate in real life.


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Christian preacher arrested for saying homosexuality is a sin

A Christian street preacher was arrested and locked in a cell for telling a passer-by that homosexuality is a sin in the eyes of God.

By Heidi Blake

Published: 1:05PM BST 02 May 2010

Dale McAlpine was charged with causing “harassment, alarm or distress” after a homosexual police community support officer (PCSO) overheard him reciting a number of “sins” referred to in the Bible, including blasphemy, drunkenness and same sex relationships.

The 42-year-old Baptist, who has preached Christianity in Wokington, Cumbria for years, said he did not mention homosexuality while delivering a sermon from the top of a stepladder, but admitted telling a passing shopper that he believed it went against the word of God.

Police officers are alleging that he made the remark in a voice loud enough to be overheard by others and have charged him with using abusive or insulting language, contrary to the Public Order Act.

Mr McAlpine, who was taken to the police station in the back of a marked van and locked in a cell for seven hours on April 20, said the incident was among the worst experiences of his life.

“I felt deeply shocked and humiliated that I had been arrested in my own town and treated like a common criminal in front of people I know," he said.

“My freedom was taken away on the hearsay of someone who disliked what I said, and I was charged under a law that doesn't apply.”

Christian campaigners have expressed alarm that the Public Order Act, introduced in 1986 to tackle violent rioters and football hooligans, is being used to curb religious free speech.

Sam Webster, a solicitor-advocate for the Christian Institute, which is supporting Mr McAlpine, said it is not a crime to express the belief that homosexual conduct is a sin.

“The police have a duty to maintain public order but they also have a duty to defend the lawful free speech of citizens,” he said.

“Case law has ruled that the orthodox Christian belief that homosexual conduct is sinful is a belief worthy of respect in a democratic society."

Mr McAlpine was handing out leaflets explaining the Ten Commandments or offering a “ticket to heaven” with a church colleague on April 20, when a woman came up and engaged him in a debate about his faith.

During the exchange, he says he quietly listed homosexuality among a number of sins referred to in 1 Corinthians, including blasphemy, fornication, adultery and drunkenness.

After the woman walked away, she was approached by a PCSO who spoke with her briefly and then walked over to Mr McAlpine and told him a complaint had been made, and that he could be arrested for using racist or homophobic language.

The street preacher said he told the PCSO: “I am not homophobic but sometimes I do say that the Bible says homosexuality is a crime against the Creator”.

He claims that the PCSO then said he was homosexual and identified himself as the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender liaison officer for Cumbria police. Mr McAlpine replied: “It’s still a sin.”

The preacher then began a 20 minute sermon, in which he says he mentioned drunkenness and adultery, but not homosexuality. Three regular uniformed police officers arrived during the address, arrested Mr McAlpine and put him in the back of a police van.

At the station, he was told to empty his pockets and his mobile telephone, belt and shoes were confiscated. Police took fingerprints, a palm print, a retina scan and a DNA swab.

He was later interviewed, charged under Sections 5 (1) and (6) of the Public Order Act and released on bail on the condition that he did not preach in public.

Mr McAlpine pleaded not guilty at a preliminary hearing on Friday at Wokingham magistrates court and is now awaiting a trial date.

The Public Order Act, which outlaws the unreasonable use of abusive language likely to cause distress, has been used to arrest religious people in a number of similar cases.

Harry Hammond, a pensioner, was convicted under Section 5 of the Act in 2002 for holding up a sign saying “Stop immorality. Stop Homosexuality. Stop Lesbianism. Jesus is Lord” while preaching in Bournemouth.

Stephen Green, a Christian campaigner, was arrested and charged in 2006 for handing out religious leaflets at a Gay Pride festival in Cardiff. The case against him was later dropped.

Cumbria police said last night that no one was available to comment on Mr McAlpine’s case.


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...