Monday, August 31, 2009

Beyond the fucking pale

"If an Ohio punk has the right to have her genitalia operated on, why has not the Somali woman the same right?" Germaine Greer explaining why cutting off the clitoris and labia of eight-year-old girls is fine and dandy in her book.

As regular readers will know, your humble Devil is not a raging feminist: apart from anything else, he thinks that the law should apply equally to all citizens and that all discrimination—positive or negative—is A Bad Thing. Not only that, but he feels that—in most parts of this country—a cultural evolution is taking place that is moving broadly in the right direction.

What does enrage him is the disgusting treatment of women—or, rather, individuals who happen to be women—in certain parts of the world. As long-time readers will know, your humble Devil considers female circumcision, for instance, to be absolutely one of the most evil things on the face of the planet. In that linked post, I attacked yet another one of these filthy cultural relativists...
What it actually is is a product of colonial, Western guilt; it is a morally bankrupt and cowardly position that allows people to turn away from condemning the barbaric practices of others. There are, as I said previously, some things for which there are no excuse: FGM is one of them.
...

And being civilised means recognising and defending those who have no autonomy. I would consider that young girls of under 10 (to whom FGM is most likely to be applied) do not have autonomy; they are held down and cut. As civilised people, it behoves us to help the helpless.

It seems that this kind of crap is still continuing in this country—this filthy cultural relativism that says that it is OK for a woman to be treated like shit, beaten, cut, viewed as property and killed for doing something that their family dislikes. It certainly seems that Germaine Greer—the author of The Female Eunuch—has no problem with the castration of women, for instance (the above quote is entirely genuine, by the way).

What has prompted this? It was the reading of this Prodicus post and the subsequent perusal of the articles recommended.
In the current edition of Standpoint magazine, Clive James has published an article he hoped never to have to write. It is a blazing rebuke to the left-liberal intellectual establishment for its contemptible complicity (my words) in the terrorising of millions of women in the name of Islam.

James is backed up by Nick Cohen who, in another powerful article in the same issue, rails at, specifically, Western feminist apologists who, from the comfort of their Hampstead apartments and in the name of cultural relativism, volunteer as apologists for the genital mutilation of women in third world societies and are therefore, de facto, accessories, in their silence, to the terrorising and oppression of even brown-skinned women who live in the less appealing parts of their own, British, cities.

Both writers express their contempt for those who would accord moral equivalence with Christianity and Western moral sensibilities in general, to principles and authorities which permit, condone or encourage the oppression, terrorising, rape, imprisonment, torture and murder of women in the name of Islam and other oriental religions.

Both writers condemn the veneer of post-colonialist remorse which masks the Left's and Western feminists' cowardice, hypocrisy and self-evident hatred of their own society, and the alacrity with which they leap to champion almost anything which affronts it.

Cohen will make you seethe. James will make you seethe and laugh out loud, as serious as the subject is and as nauseatingly contemptible the hypocrisy of their targets.

When leading men formerly (?) of the liberal consensus finally clamber to their feet to accuse their sisters of complicity in crimes against half of humanity, you know the tide is turning.

Do go and read the articles and—if you do not seethe at the inhumanity of people, as well as the cowardly stance of the liberal intelligentsia—then you are a calmer person that I.

I want to be quite, quite clear about this: these things highlighted in the magazine have absolutely no place in a libertarian state—no libertarian could possibly condone the enslavement or use of force against women or men. Equally, these things should have no place in a liberal Western culture—libertarian or otherwise.

Your humble Devil has absolutely no time for religion at all. I certainly have no time for religions pleading that they should have special exemptions from the law of this country. And I most especially have no time for any culture that insists on treating any person as nothing more than a possession—and a poorly-valued one at that.

No, we cannot go and invade all of those theocratic states that persecute women, but we can fucking well do our damndest stop it happening here.
Yet at the same time, the Archbishop of Canterbury can call for Sharia law to be imposed on British Muslim women, safe in the knowledge that his own women priests will nod their approval. Similarly, the former Lord Chief Justice Lord Phillips can call for Sharia at the East London Mosque and women lawyers will not remind him that the mosque is a centre for Jamaat-i-Islami, which in India insists that husbands who throw out their wives have no duty to pay them maintenance.

We should be burning effigies of the Sharia-endorsing bearded goat-botherer and Lord Phillips in the street. They should be relieved of their posts and stripped of all titles, honours and privileges. These people are cheer-leaders for mutilation, rape, slavery and oppression. Instead, they are allowed to carry on peddling their filthy, relativist views from positions of power and influence.

All religious exemptions from laws—Christian, Muslim, Sihk, Jewish, whatever—must be overturned. Now. This country must remove the Church of England from its privileged position (which will probably consign it to the dustbin of history, where it belongs). This country must stop being a refuge for religious zealots of all stripes. There should be one law for all and everyone—everyone—should be equal under the law.

And, quite seriously, if you don't want to live in society in which enforced slavery, mutilation and murder are absolutely against the law in all circumstances and when practised against all citizens, then you can fuck off.

I am, frankly, fed to the back teeth of people justifying their sickening behaviour towards other human beings on the grounds of a belief in a totally fictional sky-fairy which, if it existed, would in any case be imprisoned and excoriated as one of the worst beings ever known in creation.

To sum up, I shall use the same quote from Does God Hate Women? that Nick Cohen does.
Well, what can one say. Religious authorities and conservative clerics worship a wretchedly cruel unjust vindictive executioner of a God. They worship a God of 10-year-old boys, a God of playground bullies, a God of rapists, of gangs, of pimps. They worship—despite rhetoric about justice and compassion—a God who sides with the strong against the weak, a God who cheers for privilege and punishes egalitarianism. They worship a God who is a male and who gangs up with other males against women. They worship a thug. They worship a God who thinks little girls should be married to grown men. They worship a God who looks on in approval when a grown man rapes a child because he is "married" to her. They worship a God who thinks a woman should receive 80 lashes with a whip because her hair wasn't completely covered. They worship a God who is pleased when three brothers hack their sisters to death with axes because one of them married without their father's permission.

And whilst I acknowledge that many decent people are followers of one religion or another, perhaps it is worth contemplating the fact that they might actually be decent people even if they did not believe in some sky-fairy? I think that the answer is "yes".

To be sure, the flip-side is that many of the evil scum who currently justify their behaviour with religion would still be evil scum—but at least we could treat them as such, rather than providing exemptions and special case pleading.

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

Are you insane?

Jiks said...

Well said DK.

I really fail to understand how anyone could justify the genital mutilation of young girls.

It is even more incomprehensible that anyone owning female genitalia could do so.

Oh, on the rest of your post, too true. Applause for being brave enough to risk the wrath of the various nutters that no doubt will come out of the woodwork...

indigomyth said...

//No, we cannot go and invade all of those theocratic states that persecute women, but we can fucking well do our damndest stop it happening here.//

Is that not exactly what we should be doing? Is it not our moral duty to wipe Sharia law off the face of the Earth? I for one would be happy to see a new British Empire subjugate certain places in the world, where this kind of brutality occurs.

Out of curiosity, where does DK stand on adult woman voluntarily undergoing circumcision? It is currently legal (I think) for a man to seek castration, so I cannot help but think that an autonomous woman has the right to seek castration if she so wishes? Is not bodily autonomy one of the key aspects of Libertarianism?

Katabasis said...

This reminds me of when the SWP / Respect decided to announce that anti-sexism and anti-homophobia should no longer be treated as shibboleths and duly separated male and female audience members at some of their meetings to appease some of the muslim attendees.

I don't know how their brains don't explode from the cognitive dissonance.

DK said...

"Out of curiosity, where does DK stand on adult woman voluntarily undergoing circumcision? It is currently legal (I think) for a man to seek castration, so I cannot help but think that an autonomous woman has the right to seek castration if she so wishes? Is not bodily autonomy one of the key aspects of Libertarianism?"

If an adult woman takes a voluntary decision to undergo circumcision, then she is, of course, quite entitled to do so.

DK

The Paragnostic said...

Well said DK - the idea that we should accept others' disgusting behaviour just because they come from a different culture, or have a religion, should be anathema to any of us who claim to be civilised.

And it's not just Islam - fundamentalists of all religions should be fought against wherever we find them, as should the relativist fools who are prepared to condone crimes because to do otherwise would make them feel guilty.

Hope the nutters aren't too unkind to you in their comments ;o)

indigomyth said...

Thank you, DK.

Out of further curiosity, why are you so defeatist about it not being possible to invade every theocratic country? Perhaps not all at once, I grant you, but one by one we could destroy their systems of government, and emplace civilised ones?

Personally I truly believe that certain parts of Africa were more civilised under British rule then they currently are under Muslim (and some Christian) rules.

That is one of the interesting things though, in Africa, Christian hierarchy does not temper Islam, but Islam does make Christians more aggressive, in order to compete in the same "spiritual marketplace". A typical example would be Uganda, where homosexual conduct, even in private, is illegal. This is a stance advocated by the local Christian hierarchy. I remember something Pat Condell once said, that if you vote for a Christian party, you are voting for every religion, because certain kinds of religious people think that any religion is better than no religion.

North Northwester said...

DK.
Your post is quite right.
You identify an evil and describe it in terms which most sane western people recognize as morally perceptive and with which we can share your anger.

Which is why, when you and I had a smallish showdown about freedom of immigration or otherwise some weeks before your marriage, I was trying to stress [clumsily perhaps] that economics, and the Economic Man model of human behaviour that lies at the heart of much, though not all, libertarianism is an insufficient way of understanding and dealing with some immigrants. Lots of migrants.
It's insufficient because it's incomplete - not because it's untrue amongst many 'communities.'
The very notions of privacy and self-ownership and individual sovereignty are anathema to people who believe in this vicious stuff every bit as fervently as you believe in individual dignity and freedom and how we ought to protect children too young and weak yet to uphold their own rights.
They can not play by the desirable live-and-let-live rules of libertarian individualism, and not just regarding the health of their girl children, but also regarding the rest of us.
Granted, our authorities ought to be punishing the bloody-handed women who do the mutilation and [somehow] the menfolk who bully them to uphold their twisted patriarchy staying intact, but the authorities aren't doing much of it because of PC multi-cultism like Ms. Greer's.
I don't think that importing more people who practise this kind of evil is a good idea - especially as they tend to subvert the local native 'authorities' who subsequently listen to their concentrated 'victim culture' representatives as much, if not more, than to the more dispersed outraged natives. It works like producer protectionism does in consumer goods or services.
What's worse about this for the rest of us is that the forces needed to interfere with, say, Somali 'family' life to rescue these girls add to the sum total of State forces allowed to interfere with family life as a whole. I'm not saying the police and social services shouldn't move in (who better to do so, really?) but one of the costs to the body politic will be a higher risk of the rest of us with children being visited.

bloke with nadgers said...

Next she'll be saying "If the poor want to live frugally, who are we to object?"

Lola said...

All agreed. One thing. Disestablishing the Church of England may actually save it. People would have to think.

the a&e charge nurse said...

Presumably the practice of male circumcision (when performed as a religious ceremony) is to be viewed as equally barbaric - or put another way, surely the foreskin deserves similar protection from sharp objects as the clitoris?

Genuine question - where do libertarians stand on the rights of parents to cut their kids genitalia?

After all libertarians generally regard state interference as 'bad', especially when it infringes on individual cultural preferences?

Ian B said...

Well, I'm an atheist, and quite a militant one, or I used to be anyway. But let's not blame religion for this. No, I'm not being a moral relativist.

Religions can tend to be used to justify cultural practices. Or, religions can be forces for changing them. Many of our cultural values are descended from christianity, which sometimes imposed upon the population. Christianity was a major force in ending infanticide in christendom, which was really quite common in the old days. The religious ideology of christianity- which held all humans as blessed by God, and children to be a blessing- gave us, or helped give us, our revulsion of harming children. The fact I don't believe in Jesus doesn't mean that I have to deny that Good Thing.

Genital Mutilation practices appear to have arisen in Arabia among some primitive tribe(s) and have been incorporated into the religions of the area- judaism and islam. Some tribes do both boys and girls, some just boys, and at different ages. Some practice clitoridectomy, some practise infibulation. The most extreme male form appears to have been penile shaft skin stripping. They probably arose as a form of rite of adulthood, in males to demonstrate manliness by resistance to pain.

They are all grotesque. I speak as a moral absolutist. I believe that there is an objective justification (if one takes as axiomatic the rights of the human) that parents have a moral duty of care to their offspring, and are committng a crime against their children if they do not carry out that duty. Any parent who looks at their childrens genitalia- female or male- and decides which parts need cutting off is, frankly, sick in the head.

No, okay, that's not fair. They've got a crazy stupid idea that is morally reprehensible.

All genital mutilation, as with any other mutilation, should be treated by the courts as a serious assault, and anyone who cannot bear to leave their childrens genitalia should, in my view, find a more retarded country to go and live in, frankly. This is entirely consistent with libertarian values; children are human beings, not property. Their inevitably defenceless nature is a part of reality, and they thus have both the right not to be harmed and the right to be cared for until they are capable of caring for themselves. Having children is, inherently, an act of consent to care for those children.

So, call me a dogmatist, but I would say this: if you want to live here under our laws, keep your goddamned hands off your kids' private parts, or expect to go to prison for a long time. You choice, people.

Ian B said...

And Germaine Greer is an evil old bag.

Wossat? said...

Greer has been marked down in my book as a stupid, patronising cunt for many years. She is a complete fucking embarassment to my gender and an insult to subjugated women everywhere.

I'm with you on the religious shite too.

Vicola said...

Greer rarely says anything worth listening to and this is no exception. I'd rather listen to an hour of my dog breaking wind than that hatchet faced old harridan. It'd certainly be less pompous and self-indulgent. Female genital mutilation is a vile and barbaric practice. What an informed adult chooses to do with their genitals is entirely their affair but the mutilation of female children's genitalia is entirely wrong and those who offer up their daughters for the procedure or who perform the procedure should have the book thrown at them, hard. When Greer has been held down by a collection of zealots in a kitchen somewhere and had her genitalia mutilated without anaesthetic or hospital treatment, then (assuming she doesn't die of sepsis) I will be willing to listen to her reasoning as to why this should be allowed to continue. Until then I would suggest that she keeps her ludicrous opinions to herself.

Longrider said...

A&E - as a Libertarian, I am vehemently opposed to male circumcision of infants whether for religious or cultural reasons.

I discussed this and had some heated exchanges with US correspondents a few years back. Indeed, one woman said it was okay, because as a woman she preferred the look of a cut penis. So, one presumes that she feels compulsory breast augmentation is also okay. After all, some men look the look of big boobs...

Back the point, though. The cutting of an infant's genitals is barbaric and those who do it are committing an offence against the person and should be subject to the full weight of the law.

JuliaM said...

"I really fail to understand how anyone could justify the genital mutilation of young girls.

It is even more incomprehensible that anyone owning female genitalia could do so."


Indeed. But are we absolutely sure that Germaine actually has..

No, wait. Hold that thought. Someone will surely post a link to that nude image of her in response.

*brrrrrr*

Matthew said...

"If an adult woman takes a voluntary decision to undergo circumcision, then she is, of course, quite entitled to do so.

DK"

This means though that you agree with GG. Or is that the reason you quote her - I'd assumed you were disagreeing.

Anonymous said...

So people who think there is a creator of this universe are dismissed as believing in a 'sky fairy'. Yet tarot cards are perfectly acceptable it seems.

They say Crowley created the definitive deck. What are your thoughts DK?

Anonymous said...

Anon. 2.34,

Does it really need saying that the Devil Tarot is pictorial artwork, and that DK does not subscribe to its supposed esoteric capabilities?

Anonymous said...

Anon 4.22.

Yes it does need saying. Even then it seems an odd choice for merely 'pictorial artwork'.

Ian B said...

Mind you, it has just occurred to me that, rather than complaining that the Left are failing women by not pursuing issues like this, we should instead see it as an opportunity for libertarianism to grab the high ground for once. It might be an opportunity for the LPUK to get some attention with a campaign, for instance.

Longrider said...

Yes it does need saying.

Why?

Even then it seems an odd choice for merely 'pictorial artwork'.

Why?

Maturecheese said...

I agree that the FGM is barbaric and must be stamped out. I also agree that Islam treats its women like dirt and has no place here. I do not agree that Christianity and the CofE should be stamped out, quite the opposite, it should stand up and assert itself and stop compromising all the time. We need a strong Christian ethic to once again be promenant in this broken Country.

Anonymous said...

Why? Just seems an odd choice that's all for someone who dismisses the idea of their being a creator as belief in 'a totally fictional sky-fairy'.

And if it's true that the Devil's tarot is merely 'pictorial artwork, and that DK does not subscribe to its supposed esoteric capabilities' then why, in a post on October 10th 2007, does he link to a site called Wyrdology that contains the following guote?

"People often ask what the cards "mean". That's an impossible question. Each individual Tarot deck has its own imagery and symbolism which must then be filtered through the psyche of the reader and the context of the question. Understanding the meaning of Tarot cards is ultimately a very personal thing. That's why it's important to try several different decks before settling on one - even then you'll probably find that different decks are best suited to different questions or just different moods."

Anonymous said...

Guote? Quote.

DK said...

Anon,

"And if it's true that the Devil's tarot is merely 'pictorial artwork, and that DK does not subscribe to its supposed esoteric capabilities' then why, in a post on October 10th 2007, does he link to a site called Wyrdology that contains the following guote?"

Um... Because that was the site from which I took the description of card-meaning from which, in turn, I took inspiration for the theme in each card.

As I said on my portfolio site...

"I enjoy doing these pieces: it is always good to have an idea to start an artwork from, and the themes around Tarot are well-defined and yet simultaneously ambiguous."

I don't subscribe to Tarot or any other religious, semi-religious or supernatural mumbo-jumbo.

DK

Andrew said...

I'm right with you on the evil of subjecting girls to mutilation to which they cannot possibly have consented, but I want to take issue with your statement that "I certainly have no time for religions pleading that they should have special exemptions from the law of this country.".

Don't you, as a libertarian and LPUK member like myself, accept the right of religious private associations to govern themselves? Would you subject the Roman Catholic and other churches to the sexual discrimination legislation and oblige them to ordain women priests? What of those religious bodies that give it as their opinion that homosexual acts are wrong? Are they to be prosecuted for doing so?

DK said...

Andrew,

I was actually reading a paper on these sorts of situations last night: I'm hoping that the lass will be commenting on it later.

"Don't you, as a libertarian and LPUK member like myself, accept the right of religious private associations to govern themselves?"

Not at the expense of basic freedoms, no. And it is those basic freedoms that would be enshrined under law.

Now, free association means that any individual can voluntarily sign away their rights but, as we know, certain religions, etc. are not too keen on voluntary or, indeed, rights and freedoms.

"Would you subject the Roman Catholic and other churches to the sexual discrimination legislation and oblige them to ordain women priests?"

That point is moot, since there would be no sexual discrimination legislation.

"What of those religious bodies that give it as their opinion that homosexual acts are wrong? Are they to be prosecuted for doing so?"

Nope: freedom of speech is absolute. They can say what they want.

What religious organisations may not have—as they currently do—is an exemption from the law.

Now, if you are suggesting that this is likely to happen without the reform of other currently extant laws, then they will not be able to incite hatred against homosexuals and, yes, they will be subject to sexual discrimination laws.

DK

Rob said...

"If an Ohio punk has the right to have her genitalia operated on, why has not the Somali woman the same right?"

(1) Replace "Somali woman" with "Somali child". Accuracy, Germaine, please.

(2) Because one is entirely voluntary and the other is abuse of a minor. So, so simple. You have to be a raving mentalist Leftist not to get it.

Rob said...

And another area where Western feminists are completely silent: the "right to choose" exercised by women in India which leads to infanticide or abortion of female children.

Cleanthes said...

"why has not the Somali woman the same right?"

She absolutely does. But so what?

In the case of the somali woman - and it doesn't have to be an 8 year old child - the tribal elder or whoever else it isn't does NOT have the right to inflict this on the woman against her will and you are going to have do some heavy uphill work to show that that is not what is actually going on.

Sex with consent: nice
Sex without consent: rape = nasty.

I would have thought GG would have understood that.

Particularly when you see some of the nonsense that GG and her ilk are trying to classify as rape in the West.

Scunnered, O'Aberdein said...

Just caught up with this.

Williams didn't say what you imply he did. ie 'the Archbishop of Canterbury can call for Sharia law to be imposed on British Muslim women'

What he did say was that firstly NOT all aspects of Sharia should be adopted and was, politely, as might befit his office, scathing about the sort of things that were obviously unnaceptable.

What he did say was that if some people felt that they might better square their own consciences within the faiths that they espoused, they should be free to voluntarily make civil agreements within those terms. He also pointed out that actually letting Muslims adopt some aspects of their faith's civil rulings, it would do no more than parallel what is already in place for Jewish people, and also non religious people under (i think it was) ADR arrangements etc.

He also said that the law of the land was paramount and that in the event that any of the involved parties wanted to use that rather than their faith's principles, it would be the ultimate authority.

If you can say that 'If an adult woman takes a voluntary decision to undergo circumcision, then she is, of course, quite entitled to do so', i see no difference in principle, other than that you have carried it forward to condone something far more extreme than Williams ever suggested

I wouldn't disagree with your stance on the liberty that should be given, but please make sure that you get your context right first before you start rabbiting on about what you believe should be curtailed for that of others

As for extrapolating from leftist excuses for FGM and allied evils to throwing all religions out with the bathwater, words fail me.