Friday, May 8, 2015

Kit's Friday Thoughts: UK Election, Charlie Hebdo

By Kit Well, this week this has been an interesting week with a big election and some nut jobs attempting to stop somebody's freedom of expression (Unfortunately they tried this in Texas) and a couple of people accepted an award on behalf of their friends who actually were killed by nut jobs trying to squash their freedom of expression.

Let's look at both, shall we?

UK Holds General Election, Conservatives Remain in Power

Last night the British had an election.

—The Conservatives will go from minority coalition government with the Liberal Democrats to slim majority. It looks like they will have 324 seats, just enough to form a government (323 needed) and just one shy of an absolute majority. However, see DUP & UKIP below…

—The Liberal Democrats, who had formed a coalition with the Tories in 2010, could now be described as an endangered species, having been reduced from 57 seats to 12. Nick Clegg’s victory speech after keeping his constituency was probably the most depressing victory speech I have ever seen.

—The Scottish National Party obliterated Labour’s presence in Scotland. In fact, the leader of the Scottish Labour Party actually lost to a 20-year old college student. Now, what does this sweep mean? Well, former Scottish First Minister and former leader of the Scottish National Party, Alex Salmond said the SNP’s sweep “leaves David Cameron with no legitimacy in Scotland whatsoever.” (Despite being, you know, Prime Minister) I’m afraid we’ll have to wait and see what exactly the Scottish Hugo Chavez meant by that.

—The conservative-leaning Democratic Unionist Party picked up 8 seats in Northern Ireland. If you add 8 to the Tory’s 324 you get 332, which means you could see a Tory coalition.

—UKIP picked up 2 in England. Two things: First, this proves my theory that British and European conservatives love to send their fringe anti-EU parties, like UKIP in Britain and to Brussels to troll the European establishment but prefer more sober-minded and moderate leaders running their country. Second, while these results were disappointing for a party that hoped to replace the Lib-Dems as the major third party, especially considering neither of those seats was the one where Nigel Farage was running (he said a loss would be the end of his political career), they could provide a way for UKIP to have a voice in British politics, especially if the Tories did not grab a majority.

—Boris Johnson, Britain’s most entertaining politician, is now a Member of Parliament AND Mayor of London. Well, at least for one more year, then he will just be a Mayor of London.

—The British National Party (BNP), a neo-nazi, fascist, anti-EU, anti-NATO, anti-American, anti-immigrant, and anti-Monarchist political party based in the old coal-mining areas, which just a few years ago sent the British media into frightened fits over a FUTURE FASCIST TAKEOVER OF BRITAIN, was nowhere to be seen this election. The Monster Raving Looney Party got more votes (Yes, they are a thing).

Oh, and the Communist, Soviet-loving, terrorist-apologizing, anti-semitic, Oil-for-Food scam profiteer George Galloway lost his seat.

You can celebrate. :)

Note: Updates will be added if more results come in that change anything.

Update: Here are the final results and remember, a party needs 323 to govern and over 325 to have an absolute majority. In the parentheses are their numbers prior to the election.
—Conservatives: 331 (304)
—Labour: 232 (258)
—Liberal Democrats: 8 (57)
—SNP: 56 (6)
—UKIP: 1 (1)
—DUP: 8 (0)
—Other: 15

Now, as a segue into my next post, shortly before the election, Ed Miliband promised to ban “Islamophobia.” The fact that he never really went into detail about this was a bit disturbing. It probably played a role in Ayaan Hirsi Ali endorsing David Cameron.

PEN Gala Gives Award to Charlie Hebdo for Freedom of Speech

PEN, short for Poets, Essayists, and Novelists, held a gala this week where they gave an award for Freedom of Speech to Charlie Hebdo largely because a bunch of Islamist terrorists murdered 9 and injured 4 writers, cartoonists, and editors over their satirical attacks on Islam. As well as killing a building maintenance worker and two police officers assigned nearby.

Sounds reasonable, oui? And this attack did not come out of the blue but came well after Al-Qaeda issued a “hit-list” of writers who have defamed Islam and should be killed. Not to mention the affair involving Salman Rushdie and the murder of Theo Van Gogh. They took a stand for free expression in the face of death threats and paid for that right with their lives. So, we all agree that it was reasonable to give them an award. Writers from Neil Gaiman to Salman Rushdie agree.

About 200 writers, echoing the arguments made by Gary Trudeau, wrote a letter protesting the decision. You can read it here: LINK.

The arguments, again, are the same as Trudeau’s but nowhere near as well written as Trudeau’s. Yes, you read that right, the letter is a chore to get through. It consists of Trudeau’s basic ideas but in much more constipated language; they were attacking an underprivileged group from a position of privilege. They were “punching down” instead of “punching up.” You know them.

In a recent post for National Review Jonah Goldberg quoted New York Times columnist Ross Douthat: “power flows from pre-existing privilege, it also grows from the barrel of a gun, and the willingness to deal out violence changes power dynamics.” LINK

Now, like Jonah Goldberg, I am not someone who would normally be a huge fan of Charlie Hebdo. Their attitude towards religion seems to have been the same sneer you see in those anti-theists who think believing in God is the same as believing the Earth is flat and that religion as something practiced by morons. They mocked Mohammed, yes, but also Christ and the Virgin Mary in very disgusting ways.

But, so what? Someone putting a cross in a jar of piss as a piece of cut-rate shock art does not infringe upon my freedom of religion. And how does a scandalous depiction of Mohammed infringe upon a Muslim's freedom of religion. The best response is to roll your eyes and move on. Yes, I may not want my local town paying for it but, on the whole, I really don’t care.

Hell, since Andrew lets me write posts on this site every Friday, if some moron decided to write an article in the local college newspaper mocking Christianity I could write a post here pointing out what an idiot he is.

That is what I love about the First Amendment. You can call me a dumb poopy-head and I can hit back with, “I know you are but what am I?” Classic!

But, back to privilege, Ross Douthat's quote, and mocking Islam. Let’s, for a moment, concede to the critics their claim that Muslims are economically disenfranchised and underprivileged, as one Relevant magazine article criticizing #JeSuisCharlie declared, but as Douthat and Goldberg pointed out, you may come from the poorest, most underprivileged background in the world, but if you get a hold of a gun and are willing to use it, you ain’t powerless.

Actually, you are quite powerful. Especially if you can walk into the offices of those you declare your enemies and kill them —and the police protecting them.

As we saw in Paris and Garland, there are a number of radical Muslims who are willing to kill people simply because those people mocked their religion and, unless they’re in Texas or a government building, they are likely to take rack up a sizable body count.

I’m not a fan of Pamela Gellar, either. I’ve found her anti-Islam stance to be annoying and obnoxious at times. And, yes, I don’t think trying to openly mock Islam is productive in the grand scheme of things but, and this is MY big “but” Marci Stasi, I firmly believe they have a right to do so. And, Ms. Staci, Trudeau, and the PEN boycotters, anyone who claims that those people “caused” the deaths and injuries resulting from a terrorist attack is full of it. It may not be right to be a provocative, sneering, obnoxious asshat but it in a society that allows freedom of religion and freedom of speech, it is every citizen’s God-Damned Right.

Ms. Stasi, she mentioned freedom of religion, well, guess what? Every religion is an idea, with its own unique claims about how the cosmos works and its own variety of ideas about how best to live your life. True, most religions’ ideas overlap in many areas but there are just as many areas where they don’t overlap. And those areas have to be argued, debated, and criticized in order for us to find out which one, if any of them, are at the very least likely to be true. And allowing that debate means even allowing mockery. Even disgusting and offensive mockery.

And, you know what? Sometimes, standing up for free speech means standing up for speech you find at best unwise and at worst disgusting. But you stand up for it because freedom of speech and religion must be protected from the government and the mob, be it a mob of 40 or 2 angry youths with guns.

That is why I tweet #JeSuisCharlie.

Have a nice weekend.


Kit said...

Change of Plans: Summer of Marvel is starting Monday, not today. Sorry for the inconvenience.

tryanmax said...

Kit, you need to fix the link to

tryanmax said...

The UK elections don’t stir me, but I have a handful of reactions to the PEN/Charlie Hebdo topic:

The protest letter is essentially a “give them space” argument which simultaneously mollycoddles the French Muslim population and pins it with the blame for the CH murders. Such is the shortsightedness of leftist good intention.

It also absurdly applies “disproportionate effect” reasoning to the affair. Somehow, satirical cartoons hurt Muslims more than they would hurt other people?

The letter only gets more absurd when it suggests the CH cartoons were the straw that broke the camel’s back. It may well be that Muslims in France face particular hardships that are hard to resist, and certainly some mocking sketches would be an easy thing to push back against. But to attack and kill cartoonists rather than, say, police and government officials? Again, the leftist apologists paint a more damaging picture of Muslims as lacking in reason, strategy, and proportion than anything CH even tried.

As to “punching up, not down” it’s a comedic rule of thumb that has been roundly abused. One of the main functions of (good) comedy is to reveal, through humor, which way truly is up. By cordoning off a particular class of people from scrutiny and laughter you ironically position them above all others and prime them for upward punches. Worse, you simultaneously stereotype that group as uniformly incapable of coping with ridicule. And everyone knows that the one who can’t take a joke is the one who most deserves to be laughed at.

AndrewPrice said...

I find the UK results fascinating. It sounded like Cameron was doomed, but apparently not. I wonder why the disconnect?

On the other thing, I think it's important to keep in mind that leftists don't really believe in what you think of "freedom of speech." They love the sound of that phrase, but to them, it means "freedom to express opinions of which they approve." And I'm not being facetious. In my years of observing them, that is really what the phrase means to them. Freedom is the right to behave in ways that they approve.

Kit said...

Before I say anything, this was my favorite take on the election:

Kit said...


It is fixed.

BevfromNYC said...

"I find the UK results fascinating. It sounded like Cameron was doomed, but apparently not. I wonder why the disconnect?"

I am not saying anything happen to cause this surprise, but I WAS in London last week...;-)

Kit said...

Russell Brand is now apparently stepping away from politics after his endorsement of Labour failed to make an impact (well, the impact he wanted).

The good news just keeps rolling in from the UK!

Kit said...


"the leftist apologists paint a more damaging picture of Muslims as lacking in reason, strategy, and proportion than anything CH even tried. "

They do the same thing to blacks, woman, and other minorities. Blacks riot because it is the only way they can "speak" in modern American society, women can be traumatized by discussions of, well, anything, and so on.

Kit said...


"It sounded like Cameron was doomed, but apparently not. I wonder why the disconnect?"

That is what the entire British news media is trying to figure out. There is actually an official investigation into the polls as to why they got it wrong. Because, Britain.

Kit said...

"On the other thing, I think it's important to keep in mind that leftists don't really believe in what you think of "freedom of speech." They love the sound of that phrase, but to them, it means "freedom to express opinions of which they approve." And I'm not being facetious. In my years of observing them, that is really what the phrase means to them. Freedom is the right to behave in ways that they approve."

I agree. But what I find aggravating is their claim that their arguments should be exempt from criticism and counter-arguments because certain people might be traumatized by hearing them. And they further argue that their arguments should be protected because the people criticism might offend would be the "under-privileged" who have been traumatized by lacking privilege or abuse at the hands of the system and therefore criticism of their views could "re-traumatize" them. Or something like that.

They say, "free speech is important but so is not further offending/traumatizing underprivileged/oppressed groups." And, whaddya know, all the statements that could traumatize and offend "underprivileged/oppressed groups" tend be statements the left agrees with!

This view is becoming endemic on college campuses —helped largely by the Obama administrations push for an expansion of the definition of Title IX.

Kit said...

Jonah Goldberg, in his recent G-File:
"The notion that certain anointed people have a right not to be offended has spread with the ineluctable logic of a cancer cell. One need only look at the reception Christina Hoff Sommers gets on college campuses to appreciate how times have changed. She gets bodyguards to protect her from physical attacks while the delicate little flowers get “safe spaces” where they are protected from words -- facts, actually -- they do not like."

Anthony said...

I haven't paid much attention to British politics recently, but those are certainly interesting election results.

Its unsurprising that the Liberal Democrats got hit hard by the rise of new parties. Since they 90's they have come across as a party without a platform, kind of a group voters supported when their first choice disappointed them.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, Interestingly, I've actually seen leftists claim that things like speech codes are needed to protect "freedom of speech." Twisted.

I too find the whole protect me from unpopular opinions to be pathetic. It's also dangerous to let that kind of thinking become acceptable. Once you let anyone stifle debate by claiming that the other side can't speak to them, then there is no freedom at all... there is only conformity.

Kit said...

"It's also dangerous to let that kind of thinking become acceptable."

I don't think there is a more dangerous idea right now than the idea that people need protection from certain opinions.

Kit said...

“The only conclusion I can draw from this is…a lot of people want the Conservatives in power, because they voted for them” —Russell Brand

Robert L. Hedd said...

Kit, some people out of power find your post "hateful" and are on the way to discuss your Null Amendment (Free to Live) rights.

As all here seem to agree, anything leftists find that speaks against their views must be silenced. In my fevered dreams, I wish a conservative/libertarian on any of the MSM shows would push back by asking "what if the evil conservatives were in your position and claimed that leftists speech is "hateful" and must be silenced. Terms like affirmative action and racist. Policies like welfare and food stamps. All these leftist sacraments will now be considered hate speech and punishable by law. We should never utter those terms ever again or else a conserv/libert will come gunning for you. And you know Stephienopulopulus, we have all the guns and have been frequenting gun ranges in record numbers, so don't upset us."

As far as the UK elections, we saw the same reaction here to the mid-terms. The leftists press is in a cocoon (the old "How could Nixon win? I don't know ANYBODY who voted for him!"), so when the electorate uses the ballot box to express their disgust with leftism, the press is shocked, shocked! that anybody would vote for those evil, hateful, racist, misogynistic conservatives! "No one we know voted for them!!"

Just like I think will happen here with the H (she who shall not be named), the silent, mostly majority who vote, will send a clear message that we want nothing to do with the shrill, greedy, unethical harpie and will toss her out of politics on her ear. Our press will then be writing op/eds on how could this possibly have happened. All our polls showed here with a strong lead and our predctive models showed her winning handily. All the press in the previous year proclaimed throughout the land that H is going to be our next President. "Everyone we talk to agrees!"

So, if you never go into the rest of the country, outside of the cities, then you will never gauge the actual mood of the people. And that mood is, leave us the f alone, follow the rules and work harder if you want to get ahead. We're tired of supporting the poor throughout the world.

Oh...and Cameroon will pull a McConnel/Boehner now that he's been re-elected, and work hard to govern for "all of Great Britain," not just the conservatives who elected him. So he will ignore the people who voted for him, continue "progressive policies" like the EU and increased immigration, until people will get as fed up with him and his "conservative" government as we'll see the "Nationalistic" parties grow ever more powerful in the UK as we are seeing here with our disgust at some of the policies and actions by OUR "conservative" elected officials.


Robert L. Hedd said...

Sorry for that last run-on sentence/sentiment....


BevfromNYC said...

"Once you let anyone stifle debate by claiming that the other side can't speak to them, then there is no freedom at all... there is only conformity."

Andrew, interesting that you should say that because...well...this:

The conformity of low expectations...

Kit said...


I'm not sure about Cameron. He has done some things that have surprised me, such as his push for a law that would open the door to privatization of the NHS (which the NHS, naturally, thwarted.) but it is also important to remember he has spent the last 5 years stuck with the Lib-Dems, who would never allow any REAL conservative reform.

People were saying similar things about Stephen Harper of Canada, that he was a wet. Mark Steyn used the example of his prosecution under the Human Rights Act during the early Harper years as an example of the uselessness of the Canadian Tory Party.

Of course, Harper had a minority government, and when he got a hold of a real majority in Parliament one of the first things the Conservatives did was to repeal the law under which Mark Steyn was prosecuted.

Oh, and Norway's Conservative Party just repealed their anti-Blasphemy law.

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