Thursday, 24 March 2016

So I Hear You're A Racist Now?

A very worrying trend has taken hold in both left wing and liberal circles. Whether you are just a plain old middle of the road liberal, a social democrat or a far left Trotskyist, having nuanced views on topics such as Islamic extremism, identity politics, third wave feminism or the migrant crises is enough to find yourself  denounced as a fascist, a racist, a sexist, a bigot or a combination of all these terms. The slightest divergence of opinion from some of your so called progressive friends and before you know it you are being compared to Enoch Powell or Joseph Goebells. Just look what is going on in universities and across academia with the no-platforming policies towards feminists like Germaine Greer  because they have divergent views on transgender issues, or the veteran left wing gay rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell, who was denounced as a racist and a transphobe because he believes in free speech and is willing to debate and challenge people who are actually racist and transphobic.  The Nobel Prize winning Scientist Tim Hunt lost his job for some mildly sexist utterings. Personally, I don't want to live in a society where people can be sacked for simply having a different opinion, even if it offends me. As long as people are not trying to force their opinions on others, being verbally abusive or are not inciting violence or ill-treatment of others then people should be able to think and speak as they wish. We are living through the McCarthy era all over again, only this time it is the left who are the witchfinders and bizarrely their targets are mostly their fellow leftists and progressives.

I am someone who has marched in London against the Iraq War and am highly critical of aspects of western foreign policy. I have attended protests to jail the financial crooks that caused the 2008 crash. I regularly challenge actual racists to their faces. On the two blogs that I have published, one in Ireland and the other in Britain for which I won the Orwell Prize in 2010, I have critcised rampant free market economics and how they exacerbate inequality and create social division. These credentials are not enough to stop you being accused of being a far right bigot and fascist.The first thought crime that I dared utter was that Islamic extremism has something to do with a version of Islam. The next thought crime was that I didn't believe it was the sole responsibility of the EU to take all the migrants fleeing the Middle East, North Africa and beyond and that the UN and Arab states need to play a greater role in providing humanitarian assistance in the region where we can then screen which refugees we want to take. Even when I said we should take quite a few migrants because western foreign policy has contributed to the ills of these regions, but that we should do it in a controlled way by screening people and only allowing secular Muslims and peaceful Muslims like the Sufis and Ahymiddya sects, Christians and non-believers this was still not enough to save me from ludicrous accusations of racism and bigotry. Several people actually rebuked me because they claim it is utterly racist and anti-Islamic to try and screen any people coming from the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan to ensure that they are not extremists.

Just like Nick Cohen, I am now done with the left. They seem to consist of mostly illiberal totalitarians these days who want to police every nuance of thought and speech and are willing to smear anyone who doesn't subscribe one hundred percent to their world view. Even when you are pro-immigration as I am, believe in equality between the sexes, gay rights, reducing inequality and value living in a multi-ethnic society you might still be a bigot or some kind of phobe without realising it, but don't worry your left wing friends will let you know very quickly. It amazes me that I never knew I was a racist what with always judging people on the content of their character and not caring less about anyone's ethnicity. However, the worst part of being a racist multi-phobe as was pointed out to me by the notorious privileged, hetero-biased, middle class white-supremacist chairperson of Atheist Ireland, Michael Nugent, is that I might find it hard to devote myself full time to the old racism what with all the time I have to set aside for being an Islamophobe and a fascist. Maybe it would just be easier to sign up for a bit of diversity training instead. It would free up a lot more evenings and I could return that copy of Mein Kampf that I've had out from the library for the last year.

Or maybe it's not so bad being a racist and a bigot when you share views with such awful racists and bigots like Maajid Nawaz, Faisal Saeed Al Mutar, Ayan Hirsi Ali and Sarah Haider. They must really hate themselves. 

(Hilarious clip from the episode of Father Ted where everyone thinks he's a racist)

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