After yesterday’s terrible news from the New Zealand city of Christchurch came the revulsion. How had someone become so filled with hatred that they had taken up arms, shooting dead 49 innocent people and wounding many more? From this came the call to do something about the tsunami of hate speech, especially that directed at Muslims. And following that call, with the inevitability of night following day, came the libertarians.
This meant an intervention from those at Spiked, so called because it should have been long ago. And such was the gravity of the situation that the job of pretending that FREEZE PEACH was in deadly danger that only chief contrarian Brendan O’Neill could save the day. The bodies of those killed had hardly gone cold when Bren brought forth his latest Magnum Opus, titled New Zealand: the barbarism of identity politics.
“The rush to pin the blame for the New Zealand massacre on right-wing columnists and media outlets is despicable and ghoulish. What sort of person sees a bloody atrocity as an opportunity to push their petty demands for censorship?” he thundered. Although he stressed his solidarity with those grieving, then came “As we offer our solidarity, we also want to try to understand why things like this happen”.
So who done it, Bren? “Increasingly, it feels like the New Zealand atrocity is what happens when the politics of identity, the reduction of everyone to cultural or racial creatures whose relationship with other cultural and racial cultures must be monitored and managed, comes to be the only game in public life”. Fog of verbiage. Use lots of big words.
He even manages a nod to Combover Crybaby Donald Trump: “Democracy is anathema to identitarians and Islamists alike”. Both sides! Both sides! Also, “The only person to blame for the massacres in New Zealand is the man who carried them out”. And to that I call bullshit. The normalisation of Islamophobia has inexorably, inevitably turned heads, shaped arguments, persuaded the left-behind and the lonely.
From there, along with the incessant barrage of low-level hatred from mainstream media sources, augmented and amplified by the batshit fringe, all under the cover of FREEZE PEACH, leads only to one end point - the idea that Muslims are THEM, and are out to get US. In that warped worldview, WE have to fight back against THEM.
That is what led to two Mosques in Christchurch. But then, those at Spiked have form for excusing attacks on Muslims: they were the ones who denied the Bosnian Genocide. So, true to form, the same line is trotted out: it couldn’t be about hate speech. Except it was, and it could. As the Mail noted in its account of the killings, there is another connection.
“The shooter's soundtrack as he drove to the mosque included an upbeat-sounding tune that belies its roots in a destructive European nationalist and religious conflict … The nationalist Serb song from the 1992-95 war that tore apart Yugoslavia glorifies Serbian fighters and Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic … A YouTube video for the song shows emaciated Muslim prisoners in Serb-run camps during the war”.
The forebears of Spiked excused attacks on Muslims then - including Srebrenica. They’re explaining them away now. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose, and all that.
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I'm really puzzled by Spiked. Were they really Marxists before they became (faux) Libertarians?.
They come across as similar to those ghastly Neo-Cons who we discover were pretty left-wing when they were young and become extreme right-wingers as they aged.
Spiked confirms for me a "conspiracy" claim that has circulated for a few years: that certain US billionaires set out in the 1970s to recruit / seduce members of a then fairly legitimate Libertarian community in New York who raged against government controls in all aspects of life but it was never about the matters that the vacuous Spiked mob prattle on about..their phony "free speech" mantras, Brexit and so on.
Odd that those creepy US billionaire Koch Bros should now be exposed as Spiked backers.
O'Neill and Spiked are quick to (often justifiably) point out the threat to free speech posed by unjustified and dodgy accusations of Islamophobia, transphobia, etc. on campus, but are almost if not entirely silent on the threat posed by unjustified and dodgy accusations of antisemitism, which is at least as great a threat. Ken Stern, lead drafter of the IHRA definition of antisemitism, has said the use of his own defintion by groups like CAAS to shut down debate, have academics disciplined, etc. is a growing problem on UK campuses, and has described some of the attempts to stifle the debate about Israel as 'chilling'. Spiked and O'Neill should of course be flagging this and writing about it. Instead, they actually jump on the 'It's antisemitism!' bandwagon. They could easily be embarrassed about this hypocrisy if publicly confronted about it (quote Ken Stern at him).
Left or right doesn't really matter. They're edgelords, trying to cause shock and outrage with their opinions while cosying up to the villains like a pissed Eastenders actor, hoping for a bit of reflected glamour, and running to hide behind daddy's rich lawyer if it all gets a bit real.
Meanwhile, this morning's headlines of the Sun and Mail blame facebook, for "allowing" the massacre to be streamed despite FB and other sites, taking the streams down as fast as possible (given the ammount of material that gets put up there every day.). Not to mention banning and blocking the worst offenders of spreading the filth in the first place unlike.... erm... the Sun and Mail.
I bet you that the neither mentions that Sky News in Australia also did that - one of the very few news stations to do so - to a point they got blacked out in New Zealand.
O'Neill is a classic example of the sort of seedy right wing detritus that stinks out the place.
Which guarantees him a place on broadcast media's "press reviews". All in the interests of "free speech", you understand. Despite all media refusing to adopt a reasonable fairness doctrine.
O'Neill and his ilk and weasel words: A perfect seed bed of evil.
Does it take much imagination to think what will happen next?
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