Copyleft vs. Copyright – A Marxist Critique by Johan Soderberg

“Copyright was invented by and for early capitalism, and its importance to that system has grown ever since. To oppose copyright is to oppose capitalism. Thus, Marxism is a natural starting point when challenging copyright. Marx’s concept of a ‘general intellect’, suggesting that at some point a collective learning process will surpass physical labour as a productive force, offers a promising backdrop to understand the accomplishments of the free software community. Furthermore, the chief concerns of hacker philosophy, creativity and technological empowerment, closely correspond to key Marxist concepts of alienation, the division of labour, deskilling, and commodification. At the end of my inquiry, I will suggest that the development of free software provides an early model of the contradictions inherent to information capitalism, and that free software development has a wider relevance to all future production of information.”

http://firstmonday.org/issues/issue7_3/soderberg/

Educating black children

A taskforce is being set up to tackle the educational problems of black children.
They are ‘underachieving’, that is, at GCSE level they are performing worse in exam
results than white and (most) Asian children. It is alleged by some that schools and
teachers are “failing” black children. Others have suggested that the problems may
be cultural or social. According to the BBC, the issue is extremely sensitive. Mike
Baker, the BBC’s Education correspondent points out in an analysis that to
acknowledge the problem reinforces negative stereotypes but to ignore it is to
invite catastrophe for black pupils. As he says “This is a sensitive area. It is,
perhaps, particularly difficult for white commentators and educators to enter into.
But what is the alternative? To ignore it and focus on other issues?”.

Here is what we know, according to the BBC:

1. Black pupils get worse exam results and are between three and six times more
likely than white children to be expelled from school.

2. There is a much quoted claim that at age 5, base-line testing has shown that
black children are performing as well as, if not better, than other groups. Much of
the focus is on what goes wrong between age 5 and GCSE’s.

3. At least on black MP (Diane Abbott) is calling for more male teachers and more
black teachers in classrooms. She has claimed that female white teachers are
intimidated by black boys and this worsens the exclusion problem.

4. Here are the proportion of students getting five good GCSEs or their equivalent
is (2000)

White students 50%
Asians 49% ( Indians a whopping 62%, Bangladeshis 30% )
Blacks 37%

I am wondering if the members of these forums can help me clarify some of the
issues.

Let me say to begin with, that it is my opinion that socio-cultural factors are the
principal problem in this issue – not ‘racism’. We must not remove individual and
familial culpability from the picture. There is some reason why black kids are
underperforming. It is not class or economic. The results were adjusted for class,
gender and economic status. Made no difference. Middle Class black kids underperform
against middle class white kids. Racism may play a part – but the existing argumetns
for it are weak at best. Something else is wrong.

Ms Abbott seems to be suggesting – as have Lee Jaspers and others – that black
teachers are better for black children than white teachers. She says this is for two
reasons (as far as I can tell).

1. More role models.
2. Female white teachers are intimidated by black boys.

( I am sure the racist and sexist nature of Ms Abbott’s speculation will not be held
against her).

Is there any evidence this is true? If it is does it not revivify the separatist
ghost by lending credence to the idea that pupils ought to be taught by their own
ethnic group?

Can only black teachers teach black children? Are white females teachers scared of
black boys? If so, are they justified? Is the problem with them or with those
menacing them? [ This case about a pregnant teacher who miscarried after an
assault by pupils in Islington makes me think those tecahers may be perfectly justified in feeling menaced. ]

I also wonder if all ‘blacks’ have the same problems. Nigerians are reputed to be
study mad in the black community. Africans generally place very high importance on
education and there is plenty of hearsay evidence that black African children do not
have the problems Afro-Caribbean children have. Is it right to consider the black
community a unified whole? Would evidence that African blacks were doing fine
challenge the racism/ white teacher fear hypothesis?

I am also wondering why is it that the academic success of Indian children is
ascribed to cultural factors, yet for blacks it is school / Government failure? Also
why is it that racism is not affecting Asian student if it is affecting black
students?

The racism theory is further damaged by the simple fact that whites and Asians are
failing too. Those whites and Asians that fail, are they going to need special
treatment too? Do they also require a taskforce?

Perhaps someone can also tell me what studies the claim about black 5 year olds
being superior to other groups is based on. I would like to see what they are
testing in those 5 years olds. 5 year olds and 13 year old occupy wholly different
worlds. Aptitudes that show a talented 5 year old may be irrelevant to success at
GCSE standard.

I believes that families, communities, cultural values and most importantly
individual characteristics decide what the outcomes will be. These cannot be set
aside to focus unsupported blame on already demoralised teachers.

I hope this taskforces identifies and fixes the problems. I hope its findings can be
applied to any problem group. I certainly hope that it is not a politically biased
farce that seeks to export responsibility for the failure of certain children to the
government and teachers when it is those children, their families and communities
that need to change.

References:

Analysis: Raising black performance by Mike Baker
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/education/features/mike_baker/newsid_1875000/1875512.stm

Taskforce to help black children
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/education/newsid_1876000/1876848.stm

[ UPDATE: “Bad parenting ’causes child crime’

‘Feckless’ and abusive parents are to be blamed by the government for youth crime and unruly behaviour in schools, it has been reported.”]

Left Wing UK Newspaper endorses radical black racists in defamation against black editor

“Left Wing UK Newspaper endorses radical black racists in defamation against black
editor”

Now that is a headline. Sadly, whilst it is true – it would never be published.
Here is the story. It is cautionary tale for well meaning white ‘liberal’ race
warriors.

Last Sunday the Observer ran the following story headlines “Best is out of tune, say
black community’s ‘real’ voices – Demand is growing for a boycott of the Voice
newspaper”. The article description on another page reads “David Rowan: Black
community turns against Voice”.

In a fierce attack on Mike Best, editor of The Voice, following his saying that “if
Stop and Search reduces gun crime then use it”, Mr David Rowan of the
Guardian/Observer wrote the following:

“But beyond the right-wing press and his own newspaper, Best’s remarks have been
less well received. Particularly among those identified by the Macpherson report
into the murder of Stephen Lawrence as having suffered disproportionately under
stop-and- search. On black community radio stations and internet talk forums last
week, demands grew for a boycott of the Voice and a mass letter-writing campaign
condemning Best’s alleged ‘racism’.

It is here, say critics, that the issues affecting Britain’s black communities are
thrashed out in passionate debates and lively talk shows. ‘It is here,’ said one
figure, ‘that the black community tears its heart out over the things that affect
their daily lives, not in the pages of papers like the Voice .’

The question being asked repeatedly is how the editor of a 40,000-circulation
tabloid – known more for tabloid trivia, rap-star interviews and public-sector job
notices than serious debate – has come to be seen as a representative community
leader. ”

http://makeashorterlink.com/?G57145A8

Right. So we know that Mike Best is not a representative community leader and a
racist [I know, bear with it] because Abdul Jahtata, a DJ on Galaxy FM, South London
Pirate station, says so.

That is no joke. That is Guardian deadpan propaganda in all its PC humourless
idiocy.

“Black people are the scapegoats yet again,’ opines Abdul, ‘The editor of the Voice
knows that. He’s just an Uncle Tom, doing the white man’s work for him. The Voice
doesn’t represent us.’

Now that is a clincher. Down, Bestie.down. Abdul from the Peckham Massive says No!

Two immediate question springs to mind –

1. Who is a representative of the black community and
2. who the f**k is Abdul?

Firstly question 1. Who is a representative of the black community ?

Lee Jaspers? An unelected race baiter and separatist? Maybe. Maxie Hayles –
co-separatist with Jaspers, radical and suspected black nationalist? You never know.
How about G. Singh – err nope he’s Asian. Doreen Lawrence? Qualifications: Son
murdered by whites, victim culture figurehead. 20/1. How about some black MP’s?
David Lammy? – Blairite = no way. Diane Abbot – an “awful woman” according to
Blacknet. Ona King – pretty but mixed race – too much white? How about Lord
Taylor, he could share his leadership with Bill Morris. One is fake Tory the other a
Commie – the black community know better. Also Taylor is a “poor chump” according to
Blacknet. What about Trevor Philips? Forgetaboutit. Boateng is probably considered
an Oreos, Coconut, Uncle Tom, Black on the outside, white on the inside…. Trevor
MacDonald. No way. He played the game. Married white. An Oreo above all Oreos.

I don’t really know. Neither do the black community by the looks of it. But with the
grim choice I can see why. Or maybe, just maybe, the black community is like every
other community – composed of – heresy – individuals!? Maybe it is not some
homogenous unified mass of individuals joined by blackness and racial consciousness
into a unified singularity?
Maybe there is no ‘one’ encapsulating view or representation? Only race politicians
need racial unity. It is the siren song of the fascists and the ethnic nationalists.
Perhaps best represents a section of black society – an elite hopefully.

[ Aside: Why does “diversity” always seem to stop at diversity of opinion? ]

I digress…

As for question 2. Some radical pirate DJ? Some race baiting defamatory idiot with
a microphone and a copy of “Jamming the Media”? Who knows? Who cares? Not me.

Anyway, back to the attempted defamation of Mike Best….

The Guardian/Observer strategy is simple. If the mainstream black press start to
contradict you, simply discredit them and turn to the ‘underground’. You will always
be able to find some black person to agree with you – even if you have to stoop to
using Abdul from the local pirate radio station or Kwaku from Powerjam. Kwaku is
widely quoted in the article too, presumably he is a real voice.

[ I wonder why David Rowan considers pirate radio stations the real voice of the
community over the editor of Britain’s oldest and best respected black newspaper? I
wonder if it could have anything to do with David’s gushingly admiring Kleenex
clutching human interest story about….you guessed it….’real’ voice, Kwaku from
Powerjam! http://makeashorterlink.com/?R56122A8 ]

Not contented with Abdul’s killer put downs, David Rowan then goes on to quote
selected contributors to…get this…. www.blacknet.co.uk – more ‘real voices’ of
the black community.

That’s right folks. That seething hotbed of racist griping and whinging- the
Blacknet forum – is supposed to be the authority on matters black!

Now fellows, whatever racist bigots we have in this forum (uk.politics.misc) they
pale (no pun intended) in comparison to the filth you will find on that site – both
black and white.

Let me quote selectively – Guardian Style – from Blacknet forums. Ask yourself, as
the Guardian endorses the views of the Blacknet forums on Mike Best, do they endorse
these views too? Remember – these are the ‘real voices’ of the black community:

“Now, all these small, helpless and defensive countries that you white satanic
devil’s use to laugh at and spit at like, china, japan, korea, russia, middle east,
are deceiving you white ……. pork sausage white people. That’s right all these
nation’s that were once at peace with you so-called white people that have signed
peace treaties with you such as, ( NATO,- north atlantic treaty organization ), (
SALT 2,- strategic arms limitation talk 2 ), ( SETO,- southeast asia treaty
organization ), all of these countries that are down with you in the world bank, the
( IMF,- international monetary fund ), ( CFR,- counsel on foriegn relations ), they
are deceiving you. They are acting like they are working with you but, they hate
your guts ( MR. SO-CALLED WHITE MAN ) it’s not hard for you to see that. What
happened to that bus over in ( EGYPT ), with all those white people on it, it got
shot the f—-k up killing all you white devil’s. In 1979-80, the Ayatollah took
over the embassy in iran, tehran and they let all the black people go free but, they
held 52 white american devil’s hostages for 444 days. All these nations that were at
peace with you white devil’s have deceived you and will not be at peace with you
much longer. And, they will prevail against you and use their missiles and nuclear
bombs against you white satanic devil’s. All these nations that you laughed at are
now, laughing at you. Black people will be delivered and saved, they are not after
us, they are after you white man. What goes around, comes around.”

http://makeashorterlink.com/?H55125A8

“You white people stole that money by lying and claiming yourselves to be a minority
like black people, you white bastards, you white devil’s, your satan and your an
evil damn beast.”

http://makeashorterlink.com/?P34123A8

Those are from recent posts. This site has over 2 years of this stuff. It is the de
facto museum of UK black bigotry and racism on the Internet. A must
see…(especially the topics about interracial relationships – phew the hate is
bad!)

If you would like to get a glimpse of some hard core racism, bigotry, ignorance and
racial stereotypes – take look at those Balcknet forums. Visit and remember that it
is these forums,which the Guardian endorses as the ‘real voices’ in opposition to
the “Uncle Tom” Mike Best, editor of The Voice.

Back to Mike Best again…

It also looks like the central thesis of David’s article – that Mike Best is
isolated and pilloried – is bunk too. take a look at this recent post to Blacknet :

“I have just had a long telephone chat with Mike Best, and true to form the man – in
his humility and good temper – declined to ofer a comment about this furore on
Blacknet. We both agreed that any rationalisation would perhaps fall on stony ears.
I mentioned in passing that certain members of this forum ( and they know who they
are) have made it a hotbed of frustrated ego and envy. I also made the point that,
sadly, denigration of excellence has become an entrenched feature of black culture.
Of all the races on God`s earth we are quickest to decry any achievements by our
fellows. This is fact borne out by history. THe attacks on Mike and especially The
Voice is ceratinly in that unique vein. THe Voice has served Black Britain Well.
During the dark Thatcherite years, when we wanted a paper that would fight for us,
highlight injustice, state sponsored murders, racism in all its form ….. the Voice
delivered. The Voice introduced an otherwise apathetic generation to Black Protest &
to Black Culture..actually the Voice has also been instrumental in helping to create
that thing we call “Black Culture” – because even as Kunjufu knows , that is
fundamentally an 80s phenomenon. Now in the Brave 21st Century, with the rise of a
complacent, feminised black community, a community fooled by Tony Blair and the
mirage of equality, we could hardly talk in favour of The Voice without being looked
at as a fool…We are all right thank you, seems to be the mantra. And Oh,(as Vodoo
Queen would most probably say) we do so prefer the glossy New Nation (owned by a
white company) and the Fkking Guardian, Independent, Obsever, Mail ad nauseaum!! You
forget the dark Tory days, you ignore the fact that under Blair, the nasty
crypto-racist, authoritarian, white supremacist streak that is at the heart of
Labour is beginning to show its true colours. Its time like these that we need a
campaigning paper like the Voice…a true friend..fearless: of us, and, for us.”

http://makeashorterlink.com/?S63121A8

So not everyone – even on Blacknet – is against Mr Best. There are abundant
supporters of his position. Have a look for yourselves.

What puzzles me is the Guardian/Observer position on this (they represent the race
lobby in this story)

If the long standing editor of the Voice cannot criticise the black community, if
black academics cannot criticise the black community, who can? Short answer? No one.

Criticism by whites is racism. Criticism by blacks is Uncle Tomism and racism.
Simple as that.

Meanwhile the delusion amongst many blacks that white racism is rampant exists
unchallenged. The black community grow increasingly embittered and racist. Blacks
continues to believe their problems and their solutions lie outside of their
community – not within. Without honest dissent and media honesty, the black
community and white apologists like David here continue to blame whites, the police,
racism (existent or not), anything but face the truth: the community is in BIG
trouble. These problems require URGENT action.

“The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is
piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new,
so we must think anew and act anew. “–Abraham Lincoln

Black boys are butchering black boys on the streets. Black boys are gunning down
black boys on the streets. Black boys are carrying out a grossly disproportionate
number of street crimes (most of their victims are white women). Rolex muggings,
gang rapes, carjackings, children being stabbed to death, violent and murderous
street attacks….the perpetrators , in London at least – are almost always black.

Do you think this helps fight racism, David Rowan? Do you think it helps having whit
e women getting their teeth knocked out by violent muggers? Do you think all those
white victims and their loved ones are NOT turning their pain and anger into racial
animus and fear? Care to nominate the ‘real voices’ of the white and Asian
communities David. Well, what does Abdul think?

Hey David, do you think that help fight racism? huh? White girls getting their teeth
knocked out by black muggers? Well? What does Abdul think?

Finally David, the folks at Blacknet say thanks. I though I might save this last
wonderful irony for last. Abdul won’t be able to help.

“David Rowen (writer of the article) obviously has no clue. From the offset, it was
pretty obvious that the man has an agenda contrary to ours and the patronising tone
of the article made it very difficult for me to read it all, but I made it to the
end nevertheless.

What I found particularly interesting is that the whole Stop and Search issue has
become less about preventing crime, and more about race for David Rowen. By
implication, he assumes that the increase in Stop and Search AUTOMATICALLY means
that more black people will, and should be stopped. (He says that Mike Best is only
stating something that should have been said a long time ago) Could this suggest
that he feels that our people commit more crimes than white people?

People like Mr Rowen are quick to jump up and down to support this issue because
they KNOW it won’t affect them nearly as much as our community. If this does not
highlight the underlying racist agenda of the Stop and Search issue, then what
does??

You have to question how David Rowen would feel if the tables were turned. If every
5ft 9 English man with brown hair was stopped everytime a man of similar description
robbed a post office, I suspect they too would be slightly pissed, if not incredibly
angry.

[ Limbic note: Incorrect. I would fully understand if I were in Lagos and a white
guy robbed a nearby store so the cops were stopping me]

This article reinforced something for me: White people think that racism is a
figment of our imagination. They think that we are obsessively defensive and ‘play
the race card’ if someone does or says something about our community that we don’t
like. They are not interested in the excessive racism that exists in this country.
As far as ‘journalists’ like David are concerned, it doesn’t affect him so why
should he give a shit?

Nice of David to pop into BN, but I suspect that he won’t be doing so again. Perhaps
I should invite him to engage in a debate with us over this issue away from the
safty net of his newspaper”

http://makeashorterlink.com/?R11121A8

Well waddayay know! Whites this, whites that, then this idiot moans about racism!
The ‘real voices’ of have passed judgement on David ( and whitey) and it is not
good. Look who the bigot now – You (and me)! That is too funny. You give these
bigots voice and they call you a bigot in return. Priceless.

ROFL!!!!!!

At least one poster vehemently disagrees with David, but agrees with another
‘honkie’…

“I am not one to shower the honkie with compliments, but your words accurately
reflect what i believe right thinking black people feel. The idiots who tune in to
pirate radio just to fill their ears with inane prattle from half educated, half
baked street philosophers like melanin deserve to put on a boat and pushed gently
over the The Smoke That Falls. Real black people are not afraid of looking the white
man in the eye and telling him The Truth, even liquidating him if its a matter of
survival, but that doesn`t extend to giving refuge to scumbags who prey on their own
kind and expect Kunjufools to protect them.”

Well, well… “Real black people are not afraid of… liquidating [the white man] if
its a matter of survival”.

http://makeashorterlink.com/?H30112A8

You see, honkie David, you failed to grasp the number 1 rule of race debates: If you
are white and you discuss race, you are a racist no matter what you actually say.
The people of Blacknet, the very people you quote and laud as the real voices of
Black Britain now think you are a racist too – just like old Mike Best. They also
appear to be the most virulently racist bunch of scumbags I have had the misfortune
of reading in along time.

You just cannot please some folks. Least of all the bigot ‘real voices’ on Blacknet!

Stop and Search = Race Debate?

The Guardian/Observer reports from topsy turvey world again.

Tomorrow Blunkett will give a speech where he gives his ‘whole-hearted backing’ to stopping and searching people suspected of being involved in crime. He will, according to the Observer, argue that stop and search is an important weapon in the fight against soaring levels of street crime.

I think he is completely right, but the race lobby are not happy.

This speech, according to the Guardian, “will re-ignite the debate about race and crime”. This astonishes me. Can one really not talk about a police tactic which is most effective against crimes where black criminals make up the majority of offenders without sparking a ‘race debate’? It suggests that efficiently targeting black criminals is racist.

This is absurd.

The only things sparking race debates are the Guardian racialising police tactics and the reports of race debates themselves. Reporting race debates is a self fulfilling prophesy.

The Guardian notes that “Young black men are five times more likely to be stopped than white people.” It fails to note that young black men commit street crimes at 5 times the rate of white people.

No one has ever demonstrated the police have used stop and search unfairly. The stop and search figures consistently mirror offending rates. If anything it is whites that are discriminated against.

It is obvious what has happened ( why ‘black’ crimes shot up whilst crime in general went down). It is really simple.

Black criminals were given breathing space after Macpherson. Naturally those criminals took advantage of this and have flourished. The crimes that they commit disproportionably – gun crime and mugging – have rocketed. Nothing was done or said as the situation deteriorated because of accusations of racism.

Now the situation has become so bad that even accusations of racism and ‘race debates’ cannot stop the backlash. Furthermore increasing numbers of black victims have got the black media to speak out ( I find it shameful that they said nothing whilst the victims were merely whites).

Politicians sensing that public outrage and disaffection are finally acting. The police are also aware that the public is behind them and intolerant of the anti-police rubbish that was made official by Macpherson.

If you want to fight street crime and shootings in London we have to target muggers and gun criminals. The vast majority of muggers and gun criminals are black. Those targeted will be black, not because they are black but because they are muggers and gun criminals. If the police are successful and efficient then a good sign will be if most of those stopped and searched are black. If whites and blacks are stopped in equal numbers it will bear no relation to crime rates and suggest discrimination against whites.

The report: http://www.observer.co.uk/politics/story/0,6903,665089,00.html

Chilling Effects

Question: What are Chilling Effects?

Answer: “Chilling Effects” refers to the deterrent effect of legal threats or posturing, largely cease and desist letters independent of litigation, on lawful conduct. The Chilling Effects clearinghouse will catalogue cease and desist notices and present analyses of their claims to help recipients resist the chilling of legitimate activities (as well as understand when their activities are unlawful). The project’s core, this database of letters and FAQ-style analyses is supplemented by legal backgrounders, news items, and pointers to statutes and caselaw. Periodic “weather reports” will sum up the legal climate for online activity.

Question: What is the Chilling Effects clearinghouse?

Answer: The project invites recipients and senders of cease and desist notices to send them to a central point (here, at
chillingeffects.org) for analysis, and to browse the website for background information and explanation of the laws they are charged with violating or enforcing. Clinical law students will prepare issue-spotting analyses of the letters in the question- and-answer style of FAQs, which we will post alongside the letters in an online database. The site aims to educate C&D recipients about their legal rights. Site visitors may search the database by subject area or keyword.

http://www.chillingeffects.org/

Modern History Sourcebook: Sydney Smith

Modern History Sourcebook:
Sydney Smith (1771-1845):
Fallacies Of Anti-Reformers, 1824

Introductory Note

Sydney Smith (1771-1845) was an English clergyman noted as the wittiest man of his time. He was educated at Winchester and Oxford, and in 1798 went to Edinburgh as tutor to the son of an English gentleman. While there he proposed the founding of the “Edinburgh Review,” and with Jeffrey, Brougham, and Francis Horner shared in its actual establishment. He superintended the first three numbers, and continued to write for it for twenty-five years. On leaving Edinburgh he lectured in London, held livings in Yorkshire and Somersetshire, was made prebendary of Bristol and Canon of St. Paul’s.

The review of Bentham’s “Book of Fallacies” exhibits at once the method of the Edinburgh Reviewers, Smith’s vigorous, pointed, and witty style, and the general trend of his political opinions. He was a stanch Whig, and in such issues as that of Catholic Emancipation he fought for liberal opinions at the cost of injury to his personal prospects. As a clergyman he was kindly and philanthropic, a good preacher, and a hater of mysticism. No political writing of his time was more telling than his on the side of toleration and reform; and his wit, while spontaneous and exuberant, was employed in the service of good sense and with careful consideration for the feelings of others. If he lacks the terrific power of Swift, he lacks also his bitterness and savagery; his honesty and sincerity were no less, and his personality was as winning as it was amusing.

Fallacies Of Anti-Reformers

Part I – Introductory Remarks And Critique

There are a vast number of absurd and mischievous fallacies, which pass readily in the world for sense and virtue, while in truth they tend only to fortify error and encourage crime. Mr. Bentham has enumerated the most conspicuous of these in the book before us.

Whether it be necessary there should be a middleman between the cultivator and the possessor, learned economists have doubted; but neither gods, men, nor booksellers can doubt the necessity of a middleman between Mr. Bentham and the public. Mr. Bentham is long; Mr. Bentham is occassionally involved and obscure; Mr. Bentham invents new and alarming expressions; Mr. Bentham loves division and subdivision – and he loves method itself, more than its consequences. Those only, therefore, who know his originality, his knowledge, his vigor, and his boldness, will recur to the works themselves. The great mass of readers will not purchase improvement at so dear a rate; but will choose rather to become acquainted with Mr. Bentham through the medium of reviews – after that eminent philosopher has been washed, trimmed, shaved, and forced into clean linen. One great use of a review, indeed, is to make men wise in ten pages, who have no appetite for a hundred pages; to condense nourishment, to work with pulp and essence, and to guard the stomach from idle burden and unmeaning bulk. For half a page, sometimes for a whole page, Mr. Bentham writes with a power which few can equal; and by selecting and omitting, an admirable style may be formed from the text. Using this liberty, we shall endeavor to give an account of Mr. Bentham’s doctrines, for the most part in his own words. Wherever an expression is particularly happy, let it be considered to be Mr. Bentham’s – the dullness we take to ourselves.

Our Wise Ancestors – The Wisdom of Our Ancestors – The Wisdom of Ages Venerable Antiquity – Wisdom of Old Times. – This mischievous and absurd fallacy springs from the grossest perversion of the meaning of words. Experience is certainly the mother of wisdom, and the old have, of course, a greater experience than the young; but the question is who are the old? and who are the young? Of individuals living at the same period, the oldest has, of course, the greatest experience; but among generations of men the reverse of this is true. Those who come first (our ancestors) are the young people, and have the least experience. We have added to their experience the experience of many centuries; and, therefore, as far as experience goes, are wiser, and more capable of forming an opinion than they were. The real feeling should be, not can we be so presumptuous as to put our opinions in opposition to those of our ancestors? but can such young, ignorant, inexperienced persons as our ancestors necessarily were, be expected to have understood a subject as well as those who have seen so much more, lived so much longer, and enjoyed the experience of so many centuries? All this cant, then, about our ancestors is merely an abuse of words, by transferring phrases true of contemporary men to succeeding ages. Whereas (as we have before observed) of living men the oldest has, caeteris paribus,2 the most experience; of generations, the oldest has caeteris paribus, the least experience. Our ancestors, up to the Conquest, were children in arms; chubby boys in the time of Edward I; striplings under Elizabeth; men in the reign of Queen Anne; and we only are the white-bearded, silver-headed ancients, who have treasured up, and are prepared to profit by, all the experience which human life can supply. We are not disputing with our ancestors the palm of talent, in which they may or may not be our superiors, but the palm of experience in which it is utterly impossible they can be our superiors. And yet, whenever the Chancellor comes forward to protect some abuse, or to oppose some plan which has the increase of human happiness for its object, his first appeal is always to the wisdom of our ancestors; and he himself, and many noble lords who vote with him, are, to this hour, persuaded that all alterations and amendments on their devices are an unblushing controversy between youthful temerity and mature experience! and so, in truth they are – only that much – loved magistrate mistakes the young for the old, and the old for the young – and is guilty of that very sin against experience which he attributes to the lovers of innovation.

[Footnote 2: “Other things being equal.”]

We cannot of course be supposed to maintain that our ancestors wanted wisdom, or that they were necessarily mistaken in their institutions, because their means of information were more limited than ours. But we do confidently maintain that when we find it expedient to change anything which our ancestors have enacted, we are the experienced persons, and not they. The quantity of talent is always varying in any great nation. To say that we are more or less able than our ancestors is an assertion that requires to be explained. All the able men of all ages, who have ever lived in England, probably possessed, if taken altogether, more intellect than all the able men England can now boast of. But if authority must be resorted to rather than reason, the question is, What was the wisdom of the single age which enacted the law, compared with the wisdom of the age which proposes to alter it? What are the eminent men of one and the other period? If you say that our ancestors were wiser than us, mention your date and year. If the splendor of names is equal, are the circumstances the same? If the circumstances are the same, we have a superiority of experience, of which the difference between the two periods is the measure. It is necessary to insist upon this; for upon sacks of wool, and on benches forensic, sit grave men, and agricolous persons in the Commons, crying out: “Ancestors, ancestors! hodie non!3 Saxons, Danes, save us! Fiddlefrig, help us! Howel, Ethelwolf, protect us!” Any cover for nonsense any veil for trash – any pretext for repelling the innovations of conscience and of duty!

[Footnote 3: “Not to-day!”]

MORE

You've been Africaned…

“COOLUM, Australia (AP) — After accepting an award for his government’s successful campaign against AIDS, Uganda’s president declared Sunday that his country has no homosexuals, one of the groups most threatened by the global epidemic.

He accepted an award for his efforts from the Commonwealth, the association of Britain and its former colonies, at a meeting of the group in Coolum, Australia. Afterward, he listed the ways that the AIDS virus spreads in Uganda.

“First, it goes through unprotected sex. We don’t have homosexuals in Uganda so this is mainly heterosexual transmission,” he said.”

News report here

I can just imagine those Aussie bleeding hearts, all proud to be giving their award to an African president (such a commitment to equality and diversity!)….then “We don’t have homosexuals in Uganda” followed by the sweet sound of jaws hitting the conference floor. Multiculturalism versus homosexuals versus wimmin versus capitalism versus multiculturalism versus….Life is tough for modern progressives, but at least these ones were lucky enough to be Africaned. It is a salutary experience, very good for the victim.

Things African have a habit of curing liberal-mindedness. By liberal-mindedness I mean the woolly or wishful thinking of those who espouse radical or progressives theories and viewpoints because they are in the grip of ideals that have not been tempered by experience, learning or fact. Once exposed to things African (Africaned), this liberal mindedness usually dies ignominiously. The vapours clear. The bugs go belly up. Things become more limpid.

Why? It is probably due to the fact that reality is often found in its purest and most potent form in Africa. It is also highly concentrated there and as we know, reality is the best cure of woolly thinking known to mankind.

For some reason this incident in Australia reminds me of an occasion last year when I was watching beardy sock and sandaled Guardian readers [ close relative ] trying hopelessly to dance to African bongo music in the foyer of the Barbican one Sunday afternoon.

They knew that this music was equal in every way to the music of Europe. They knew that they only thought it sounded like the atonal efforts of drum equipped autistic children because of renegade racist and euro-centric biases deep in their sub-consciousness’. They knew they ought to be loving it, so they did. Then they did what some people who listen to music they love do, they danced.

Dancing is what you do to African music you see. Not dancing would have meant cognitive dissonance. Weak minds cannot stand cognitive dissonance. Not dancing would be racist. So they danced.

Little did they know, they were being Africaned.

It was clear to all observers (and the participants) that they were hating every second of their awkward twitching that was the sorry white man’s excuse for bongo dancing. There they were jigging up and down like puppets with fixed terrified grins whilst the Zimbabwean drum troupe looked on with a mixture of bemusement and scorn. I felt pity for those people humiliating themselves as they were. But my pity was tempered by remembering two things:

Firstly, those people were supper smug in their belief that they were right-on, third world loving progressives with no racism, xenophobia, or other nasty social viruses in their minds or bodies. It was to prove this to themselves and others that they were twitching in public. They deserved no pity. They were doing this to stay clinging to the steep slopes of their imagined moral high ground. Their smugness was like a drug – their dancing was it hideous price.

Of course they proved nothing but their idiocy and prejudice. They were being Africaned.

Secondly, those people were actually much more racist than they would ever realise.

It was a form of racism that had those hippies dancing. They presumed – based on that most pervasive of stereotypes: the dancing African – that the music they were hearing was meant to be danced to. They in their simple minded but well intentioned way were trying to welcome this drum troupe. That drum troupe appreciated the effort, I am sure, but must have wondered why hairyleggeded (women) and hair faced mukiwas were drawn to dance to sounds that only medicine men danced to back home – and then only whacked out on strong muti. The troupe didn’t appear to care. They weren’t ethnologists, they were musicians and musicians love an audience that loves them. Furthermore, Africans cannot be Africaned. And as every African knows – anything is possible from mukiwas.

Finally – no more self loathing. Whereas they used to hated the only people in the world who come close to agreeing with them in their goodwill towards all men – fellow Westerners. Being Africaned helps cure this self-loathing. Away from their fellows, and deep in their own minds they would start to yearn for the Beatles, start respecting the achievements and principles of European civilisation and realise that no matter how hard they wished it were not so – they are white Westerners too. The long road back to their own culture loomed before them that afternoon, but they would have taken that first step – albeit at bongo point – thanks to being Africaned.

You might be wondering what dancing racist hippies and stunned AIDS awards delegates have got in common?

They are all part of the brotherhood of the enlightened known as “the Africaned ones”. They have been disabused of any notion of the noble savage, their woolly thinking about Africa at least partially cured, their ideas of cultural relativism have consigned to the pages of formal logic textbooks, never to intrude on their lives again. They have had reality gatecrash their consensual mythology about Africa and things African.

In short, to paraphrase Gerald Kersh:

“The Africanist thinks himself an expert on Africa, until he meets an African.”

May you all be Africaned soon. You will be much better for it.

[ Update: Le Trole offered this classic on Usenet tonight:

Concert for Bangladesh, 1971

Ravi Shankar and his entourage comes onto the stage.
They sit, and begin twanging and twonging on sitars.
After about 2 minutes of atonal cacophony, they pause.
The crowd goes nuts, cheers, and begs for more.

He says, with a knowing tone,
“Thank you for enjoying our tuning.
Now, we will begin to play”.
]

Did anti-racism policies lead to the death of Victoria Climbie?

Article is here

A new racism in the public services offers non-white victims of abuse less protection and lower standards of care because of an institutional commitment to anti-racism. In this Monty Python world, black children at risk are left at risk because it is considered “insensitive” or “Eurocentric” or “culturally imperialist” to intervene. And when there are black or Asian professionals involved the problems become even more intractable. Many are denied the right to interfere by white bosses who prefer to avoid confrontations with ethnic-minority families.* Others aggressively promote the ideas of black cultural norms which must always be respected.

It is my view that these attitudes and practices may have contributed to the neglect of Victoria Climbie. Angela Mairs, a social work manager, left the inexperienced case worker, Lisa Arthurworrey, herself black, to make flawed and dangerous judgements. Was she just negligent or did she exclude herself from the case because she was white? Suspected sexual abuse was never followed up.

Ms Mair denied and then admitted that she had decided no further action was needed on the morning of 25 February 2000, hours before the child died of 130 injuries, injuries which nurses had drawn attention to previously when Victoria had been to hospital. Her body was so covered in cuts and burns and blows that the nursing staff could not lift her to give her a wash. She was sent back to her killers who finished her off.

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, very good on equal opportunities, failed Victoria too, for all the right reasons I am sure. Worst of all was the queen of “black culture” and born again Christian, Carole Baptiste, who was supposed to but didn’t supervise Ms Arthurworrey, who was often absent from work, who failed to turn up at the inquiry, who then arrived to put up such a reprehensible performance of self pity that I remember thinking that in a sane world, such a person would not have been given responsibility for stray dogs.

Beyond the rage we all feel, we are entitled to know if race is going to be discussed when we move into the next phase of the inquiry when prevention is on the agenda. Once upon a time, black and Asian families were misjudged and had their children taken from them because they were thought to be inferior people. Now black and Asian families are presumed to be wholly on the side of angels and their ethnicity is all that is considered when decisions and judgements are made. There are black and white parents who are average to excellent nurturers and black and white parents who cannot parent or who destroy children. Simple facts these, but they seem beyond the collective wit of social workers.

Estimates suggest that over 11,000 west African children are living with informal foster parents in this country. Child asylum seekers and thousands of black, mixed-race and Asian children are living with adults who match their ethnic backgrounds. Most, I am sure, are well looked after. But when problems arise, are social work departments going to hamper staff from doing what is necessary and what they would do if it was a white child? Most social workers are excellent and we all owe them. But they are confused about what they are allowed to do in cases involving non-white families because of cultural relativism.

I could give you many examples of how this creates special perils for non-white children who need protection. Take two: An inviting leaflet is produced in a Yorkshire town with many black and Asian children in care. It is meant to attract more “ethnic” foster and adoptive parents. It says: “Black children need you. You do not have any special qualifications; you do not need to be a house owner; you do not need to have a spare bedroom; you do not need to be in employment. What you need to have is ? soul, patience, understanding.”

This is no different from the expectations many teachers have of Afro-Caribbean pupils, that the pupils should dance and drum and run and not bother with middle class stuff like science and literature. A couple of readers, teachers, from a shire county which I am sorely tempted to name, emailed me gruesome details last week about a young Bangladeshi girl who is being physically and sexually abused and who they say is not getting help from nervous professionals.

Unless this latest nightmarish case forces us to re- establish the idea of universal standards and rights for all children in Britain, the Laming Inquiry will have been a waste of money, time, hopes and expectations. That would be as unforgivable as the needless death of Victoria Climbie.

END

————

* This is unfair speculation. She bases this on the example of one white social worker, Angela Mairs, who was one of the very few white people involved in the otherwise completely black Climbie affair. The Abusers/killers, victim, victim’s social worker, the social worker’s supervisor and the police person involved in the case were all black. Whites, possibly thanks to racial politics and ‘positive’ discrimination, are a rarity in this story and appear to be a rarity in Haringey social services in general. It should also be noted that CEO of council at the time, with whom ultimate responsibility rested, was Gurbux Singh, current head of the CRE. Mt Singh was chief executive of the council for 11 years. He left his position in 2000.

I think it is hypocritical for Mrs Alibhai-Brown to be attacking a culture of political correctness, its practitioners and consequences when she and her ilk (by that I mean the race lobby ) have spent a lifetime fostering it.

Despite her complicity is creating the culture of racial hyper-sensitivity and racial politics in Britain, Brown may be right that Victoria died to protect someone’s racial esteem.

If that is so, it is a very high price to pay for something that should never have been at issue. People of this country need to be treated as individuals. As long as there are those who profit or benefit from identity politics and groups or races that get special treatment (group rights), they won’t and this sort of thing will worsen. We need genuine equality urgently. Genuine equality means colour blindness.

I suppose the question is this: “Are Victoria Climbie’s parents bearing the burden of bad ideas about race, equality and social justice?”

The preliminary indications are a resounding yes. What are we going to do about it?