fpb: (Athena of Pireus)
From now I shall use a new word. The kind of people who argue against a minimum wage are neither conservative (how DARE they?) nor libertarian. They are starvationists. Remember the word: STARVATIONISTS.
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Evidently [profile] piratejenny has been unable to forget the fun I had at the expense of her rather peculiar identity and beliefs. And where there is a person who hates, there evidently are enough who are willing to waste an enormous amount of time indulging her pathetic obsessions. That is nothing new. (http://www.journalfen.net/community/fandom_wank/1117181.html?)

What I found disgusting was the presence of someone I always thought of as a human being. Thank you SO much, [personal profile] carlanime.
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We are all, I hope, disgusted, and perhaps grimly amused, at the vile conference convened by Iran's criminal President to "discuss" the Holocaust. Not everyone, however, seems to realize that this is only the last, and not even the worst, of a growing tendency by politicians and rich men to simply refuse the assured conclusions of scholarship and common sense when it suits them.

To my mind, probably the most sinister of these, because of its enormous reach and duration, was the many-pronged attempt by the Indian government, at the time of the BJP, to spread and impose a novel doctrine of early history that said, one, that the Indo-European group of peoples had originated not in Russia and Central Asia, but in India; that there were Sanskrit-speakers in India as early as 3500BC; and that as the other IE nations spread westwards from India, so their languages are derived from, rather than related to, Sanskrit. This is pure nonsense which one lesson in elementary linguistics and language history could easily dismantle; but thanks to the pressure of the government of a great country, supported by widespread nationalism, it has corrupted the whole course of scholarly debate in India and even found footholds in the West. I have in my library a guide to Hinduism, for instance, which is written from this point of view; anyone who buys it and reads without being aware of its essential corruption will himself be corrupted. As I have no intention of encouraging this sort of production, I will not name publisher and author; but the author is one of that small band of Western scholars who have allowed themselves to become accomplices of the BJP in this criminal enterprise. Their motives are easy to perceive in their writings: in general, the words "colonialism", "imperialism", "orientalism" recur at least every second line. These men and women start from the premise that whatever comes from Western culture is ideologically imperialistic and racist and therefore certainly wrong - wrong without need to debate it or to disprove it, wrong because it is the essence of Western culture to be wrong. And they do not even stop to wonder that in supporting the lies of the BJP they are giving their support to something a great deal more imperialistic, racist and aggressive, a genuine fascist movement that hangs like a black shadow over the future of India and all Asia.

We might also consider the astonishing way in which, in the face of all common sense and every single bit of evidence, Mohammed Fayed, the owner of Harrod's, has managed to keep the most inane and insane conspiracy theories about the deaths of his son Dodi and of Princess Diana alive in the British press. Merely because the man is rich (or rather, possessed of large means - in fact, he is heavily in debt), he has always found mercenary scribblers to transform his fantasies into journalistic prose, and publish them, not in little blogs or tinfoil-hatted websites, but in some of the great newspapers of Britain. This could be forgiven as a manifestation of the undying grief of a father who has lost his son; were it not that behind that there is clearly visible something much nastier - the attitude of a man who firmly believes that anything bad that happens to him must be the work of enemies and dark forces conspiring against him, and builds up his monstrous ego by looking for enemies to hound. That a couple of newspapers and several journalists have been willing, merely because of his money (the Princess Di brand has long since ceased to sell newspapers), to support him in this evidently insane quest, seems to me disgraceful. But then, British pressmen are corrupt from the cradle.

My friends will also think, I imagine, of the crazed popularity of seven-eleven denial, especially in America. But there is a serious difference between this phenomenon and the ones I described: no rich person or major government is backing seven-eleven denial. It is a genuinely grassroots phenomenon - a sad one, but not a manged one. In fact, it is an embarrassment to the groups in America that would otherwise be closest to its members, such as the Democratic Party. On the other hand, it is difficult to see that Diana conspiracy theories, Indian pseudohistories, or Holocaust denial, would have any more than a small and marginal life in pamphlets typewritten by cranks, were it not for the support of powerful groups and state governments. And this is a trend of terrible seriousness: no less than the attempt by power groups to rewrite reality, as scholarship has established it, in their own interest.

There is one basic point in which this is the West's fault, however. None of this would have had any opportunity for developing, in any significant way, and the governments and rich men concerned would not even have conceived of giving them institutional life, were it not for the idiot and criminal slogan that is the worst of the many enduring legacies of the sixties: "Question authority". This slogan has encouraged two generations to feel clever merely by being oppositional and programmatically skeptical; it has stood in the way of intellectual progress in every possible way (the encouragement of cranks and crackpots till they became institutional being only one of its evil effects). Ahmedinajad and the BJP parrot lines about Western imperialism, cultural imperialism, and so on, that have first been written and popularized in Western universities. The first thing to be done now, therefore, is to challenge this particular authoritative statement; and not only to challenge, but to bury it.


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