The New Scientist (20 January 2018 issue) has an editorial on the cover story: the “worrying signs that civilisation has started to collapse.” The editorial includes the following:
THE idea that we are living in a historic, even apocalyptic, age exerts a powerful pull on the human mind. Eschatology – the theology of end times – is a religious concept, but crops up in many other systems of thought. Marxism and neo-liberalism were both driven by an “end-of-history” narrative. Scientific thinking isn’t immune either: the technological singularity has been called eschatology for geeks, and the study of existential risk even has its own centre at the University of Cambridge. You don’t have to believe in the four horsemen to see the apocalypse coming.
After noting that the end may not be so imminent after all, the editorial points out that a real threat to our world – climate change – has been badly handled. Why? The threat was politicized: used as a stick by political faction alpha to beat political faction beta about the head, and of course the other way round.
The point is not that the activists’ answers are wrong. Business as usual is a sure way to climate catastrophe. It is that they prematurely politicised the science and hence provoked pushback from people on the other side of the fence.
Evidence for an impending civilisational collapse is much weaker, but is already being politicised in a similar way. The causes being offered are familiar bugbears of the left: inequality, population growth and resource depletion. The proposed answers are equally predictable and contentious.
That’s the backdrop.
The main article on the topic includes this:
“The idea that Western power and influence is in gradual decline, perhaps as a prelude to a precipitous fall, has been around for a while. But it has gained a new urgency with recent political events, not least the election of US president Donald Trump. For some, his turning away from international commitments is part of fulfilling his promise to “make America great again” by concentrating on its own interests. For others, it’s a dangerous move that threatens to undermine the whole world order. Meanwhile, over in the old world, Europe is mired in its own problems.”
So the editorial cautions against politicization of the issue, and the main article politicizes the issue!
Let’s be clear: Donald Trump is not the best man to be president of the USA. Will he be the worst? It depends on what media you base your judgement. But the suggestion that it is tenable to hold the end of the world is nearer because of Trump’s election is scaremongering in the extreme. It’s reckless, and panders to the same narrow focus of thought that says only socialism has the answer.
In short, the New Scientist‘s contribution to the discussion is tainted by politicization.
The following is from the Elder of Ziyon:
“There are more NGOs in the Palestinian-administered territories than anywhere else on Earth. But they get their money from those who only want to bash Israel, not to protect Palestinians from human rights abuses by their own people. So most of them take their EU funds and rehash the information they have to write yet another anti-Israel reports while actual victims of daily human rights abuses have nowhere safe to turn for help.”
Sad. True. Awful.
(You can read the original here.)
We have known for a while, that in this politically correct world, the use of language has become as much a political as a linguistic exercise. While not quite as bad as Orwell’s 1984, there are certain aspects that come damn close, and often the attitude and intent are entirely in keeping with it. This post is about the words terror and terrorist.
Reading about much of the mad violence that has taken place, you may well hunt in vain – except in Israel’s own media coverage – for those words. People are decapitated, run down, blown up, tortured, butchered, and killed. But that is rarely described as terror, and the actors are not terrorists.
Occasionally, you might see these words encased in quotation marks. This stylistic exercise is carried out to convey a clear message: someone else said this, and we certainly don’t agree, because we would never use such a word.
The BBC are on the most influential media outlets on the planet, and (very regrettably) they seem to be leading the charge (to mix a metaphor or two) in sanitizing terror from their reports on such incidents.
However, over at the excellent BBC Watch, they have a post that highlights how the BBC does actually use these words, and their hypocrisy when it comes to using terror and terrorist.
That post explains the BBC’s public stance on the use of these words. In short, they claim they are unable to make a value judgement, and so avoid doing so. However, as BBC Watch points out:
In other words, when it comes to terrorism in Europe the BBC apparently has no problem with “value judgements”.
So, apparently the BBC can make a value judgement if it wants to.
After reading the BBC Watch post, you might not unreasonably form the conclusion that so far as the BBC is concerned, terror is something that happens in Europe, but never in Israel, unless it comes to Jewish terror.. Strange that. On the other hand, after reading it, you might conclude that the BBC is a vengeful, hateful beast, ridden with antisemitism and a distaste for the Jewish State.
The USA is not happy about Lieberman’s appointment. Put to one side whether it’s any business of theirs, or Lieberman is a nice guy or not. Just contrast and compare with the USA’s attitude to the appointment of an Iranian leader (Ahmad Jannati – of the Death to Israel! Death to the USA! type) and what do you get? Silence. Here’s the excellent David Horovitz on the position:
“Raising questions about Israel’s direction, after Liberman, promising a commitment to peacemaking, joins the coalition. But staying silent about Iran’s direction, after Jannati, a man who declaredly seeks the destruction of the United States, is elected to head the Assembly of Experts.
Have at it, guys.”
Read the whole thing here, and cringe at the cheek, the arrogance, and the hypocrisy. Whatever has happened to the USA?
What is an ad blocker supposed to do? It’s supposed to block adverts. Simple. But one such operation – AdBlock – has replaced the blocked ads with…adverts. In short, they don’t want you to see the blocked adverts, but they do want you to see theirs.
From the always enlightening Register:
AdBlock replaced blocked ads with ads for Amnesty International
You should control you computer … except when we feel political says AdBlock CEO
AdBlock has replaced blocked ads with ads it wants you to see.
The advertising-blocking company on Saturday continued to block ads but replaced them with “banners linked to articles written for Amnesty International by prominent privacy and free speech advocates like Edward Snowden, Ai Wei Wei, and others, instead of the peaceful, blank spaces you’re accustomed to not noticing.”
The Amnesty ads protest censorship and “click through to content from people who governments have tried to silence.”
(From my perspective, they really add insult to injury by promoting Amnesty. Couldn’t they have chosen something less offensive, like a campaign advert for Donald Trump?)
Read it all here, and try not to get too upset by the hypocrisy.
The ship may have sailed, but the point is still worth making:
It’s in a state of denial.
It’s in a state of hypocrisy.
It’s in a real state!
Why? How? read on…
This is what the State Department said about the incident in the last Gaza conflict, when a UNRWA school was (apparently) hit by Israeli munitions:
“The United States is appalled by today’s disgraceful shelling outside an UNRWA school in Rafah sheltering some 3,000 displaced persons, in which at least ten more Palestinian civilians were tragically killed…”
Fact: this was before any investigation. The State Department was playing the role of judge, jury, and executioner of Israel.
When the boot is on the other foot
Compare and contrast with the recent (apparent) USA bombing that killed at least 16 people at an MSF (Medecins Sans Frontieres) hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan.
Is the State Department saying this:
“The United States is appalled by the disgraceful shelling outside an MSF hospital in Kunduz, sheltering many injured persons, in which at least sixteen more Afghani civilians were tragically killed…”
What’s your guess?
Of course they are not. They are saying it’s too early to say much more than they are looking into it, while regretting the casualties. (It’s a shame they didn’t add they also regret rushing to judgement in the Gaza incident…)
See this Ynet report and the video extract of the State Department spokesman in a real state when these points are put to him.
Apparently, it is OK to unilaterally condemn Israel, but not their own forces.
Israel can be condemned before any investigation, because the State Department knows, you know, that Israel is guilty. But the USA must not be condemned, even a teensy weensy bit, before lots and lots and lots of investigation, because the State Department knows, you know, that the USA is not guilty!
(I guarantee any report will not be released on a slow news day, but buried (ahem) on a day when a truly big story is grabbing the headlines and 99% of the media attention.)
What a morally cowardly and dastardly approach. If these spokespeople had an ounce of shame, they would refuse to peddle the official line. These spokespeople are messengers of malice, indeed. Well done to Associated Press reporter Matt Lee who was principled enough to ask the question, and not fold in the face of a first refusal to properly answer. Even if they did not properly answer, the State Department’s hypocrisy, duplicity, and double-dealing was on show for all.
I know it’s only January, but Matti Friedman‘s speech to BICOM at a dinner in London on January 26, was wonderful.
“In my time in the press corps I saw, from the inside, how Israel’s flaws were dissected and magnified, while the flaws of its enemies were purposely erased. I saw how the threats facing Israel were disregarded or even mocked as figments of the Israeli imagination, even as these threats repeatedly materialized. I saw how a fictional image of Israel and of its enemies was manufactured, polished, and propagated to devastating effect by inflating certain details, ignoring others, and presenting the result as an accurate picture of reality. Lest we think this is something that has never happened before, we might remember Orwell’s observation about journalism from the Spanish civil war:
“Early in life,” he wrote, “I had noticed that no event is ever correctly reported in a newspaper, but in Spain, for the first time, I saw newspaper reports which do not bear any relation to the facts, not even the relationship which is implied in an ordinary lie. … I saw, in fact, history being written not in terms of what had happened but of what ought to have happened according to various ‘party lines.’”
That was in 1942.”
Turn off your phone. Get something nice to drink, and perhaps a nibble or two. Snuggle up somewhere quiet and comfortable, click here and read it all. You will not be sorry.
[Another one to chalk up to the Elder of Ziyon.]