Author: David Paxton

Glenn Greenwald is Wrong Again on Charlie Hebdo

If you considered the January 2015 attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo to be of importance to free speech; if you thought the murdered brave, and the dissemination of the work for which they were murdered important, then Glenn Greenwald has some news for you: You’re a hypocritical liar who enjoys picking on Muslims and only purported to believe these things to further an aggressive, militaristic, and anti-Muslim foreign policy. I say ‘news’ but this is the same line he has been advancing since two days after the attack. He trotted it out it again for the 1st year anniversary. Now he’s had another go, only this time Greenwald has a slam dunk argument. Some people didn’t like their post-Hurricane Harvey cover cartoon: What happened here is beyond obvious: Charlie Hebdo was fun, delightfully provocative, bold, and deserving of awards when it was publishing mockery of Muslims. When its cartoonists began publishing exactly the same sort of thing aimed at white Americans, they became “vile,” “evil,” “despicable,” “losers,” and “traitors.”   In making his latest argument, Greenwald again relies on a recurring set of …

Springtime for Demagogues

I. Rochdale, Rotherham and Cologne Western culture is successful because it recognises individuals and treats them equally under the law. People brave seas in rickety boats because they want a piece of that. After the Rochdale and Rotherham Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) scandals there was some push back, always from people on the Left, against the idea that there was a ‘conspiracy of silence’ rather than mere inefficiency. The abnormally slow dissemination of information following the New Year’s Eve attacks in Cologne, and other events which have subsequently come to light, have helped confirm the reality of this. People are refusing to treat certain criminal events like they would others. Such a ‘conspiracy of silence’ not only betrays the principle of equal treatment, it is ultimately counter-productive. This problem shares the same root with some of the notions of ‘diversity’ with which I have increasing difficulty accepting. Simply put, discrimination is discrimination and regardless of the quality of your motivations it poisons what it touches. In the case of the sexual assaults, I’m not sure …

Inaction is an Active Choice

Everyone’s a critic. When it comes to Cameron’s case for extending airstrikes beyond the nominal border between Iraq and Syria, including the Western plan to defeat Islamic State, it is seemingly very easy to be a critic. When judged against perfection it always is.  In judging the success of previous interventions, critics tend to operate from a counter-factual assumption of suspended animation and zero deaths. For example, every death following the 2003 invasion of Iraq is added to the debit column of intervention yet no predictions of deaths from a maintenance of the status quo are added to the credit column, let alone any kind of assessment of what misery a collapse of Saddam’s regime would have created. You may well believe that after factoring in your understanding of these, the debit column is still by far the larger. This is a perfectly valid view but to fail to factor them in at all is to produce a worthless assessment of the decision. It also forms no basis from which to take pride in an apparent …