Thursday, September 22, 2005
  I REALLY can't stand Melanie Phillips
The worst thing one can do is legitimise the wild and illogical ravings of this crazy woman by addressing them. Well, all the blood has rushed to my head upon reading the latest outpouring of her garbage which she has written in her internet "diary" (dear diary, today I wrote another column on The War on Terror. One of these days I will actually read a history book or learn some of the basic laws of international relations and logic, but why rush when I can just parrot what my schitzo-neo-con friends across the pond say?)

I've detailed before how she repeatedly uses phrases like "self-hating" (to describe anybody who opposes the lunatic policies of Bush and Blair), "Israel-hater" (referring to those who think there is a slight chance that the Palestinian people are not being made totally at home, or that Israel shouldn't have nuclear weapons or invade and occupy neighbours), "jihadist" (that would be the BBC, or the "Biassed Broadcasting Corporation") and "appeasenik" (to slime those who don't understand the arguement that bombing people will save them and bring democracy to the Middle East). Now she tells us that the Church of England are "on their knees before terror" because, in an article featured in The Times they assert that we should apologise for the Iraq "war" (I have elected to put the word "war" in those "ironic" little quotation marks because the first war crimes committed were not done in a state of war, but in a sadistic bombing campaign which killed many people. How many we will never know).

I happen to think so too, and I think it's pretty obvious why. I am even more extreme because I happen to think that reparations in order. The country, and the lives of most of its inhabitants are a wreck and she has the temerity to dribble out: "apologise -- for what, precisely?"

She's stuck on that question, although I suspect that the answer was given in the very article that sent her into this frenzy, but still she wants to make other clever enquiries, like: "And apologise to whom exactly?" If the answer to this is just a little too obvious, you can rely on the witch to conjure up her own distorted answer: "To the Ba’athists, perhaps, who subjected the rest of the population to a regime of unmitigated horror and towards whom the church – by this logic – feels badly that they have been deprived of power?" I suspect she may be taking things a t-i-n-y bit out of context here, but then, who I am I to judge. I opposed the war too. All hail mighty Saddam!

Her worst distortion happens right before the reader's eyes, when from this part of the Times article:

‘The bishops cite as precedents the official statements by the Vatican expressing sorrow for the Christian persecution of the Jewish people throughout the ages, the repentance by the Anglican Church in Japan for its complicity in Japanese aggression during the Second World War and the regret expressed by leaders of the Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa for their theological and political backing of apartheid.’ (The Times)

She gets this:

"In other words they are comparing the removal of Saddam Hussein with the persecution of the Jews, the axis against democracy in World War Two and South African apartheid. But it was Saddam Hussein, the butcher of his own people and sponsor of terrorist murder against Israel and America who was the brother in blood to the tyrants of history. To compare these evils with the attempt to remove a similar modern evil is a straightforward inversion of good and evil. One associates such anti-reasoning with moral imbeciles – but the church?" (Melanie Phillips)

Sorry for the patronosing brackets, but we are dealing with children here, I think. "In other words"?? Whose words? Who is "comparing" anything here? By "other words" I assume she means her own straw-man argument, where she changes all the words so that she may refute it more easily. Yes, it's really easy to outwit someone when you change their entire sentence and view, though I suggest that if you want somebody to eat their words, you serve them back to them as you found them. Never one to shy away from playing the "anti-semite" card, Melanie Phillips probably sat at her computer, selectively cutting and pasting, while cackling at the mighty achievement of outwitting an imaginary neo-Nazi. Even a true moral imbecile like her can pull that off. That's when she isn't comparing BBC newsreaders with Osama bin Laden. The woman is a logician's nightmare. She cannot make even the most basic deductions.

All the way through she repeatedly slams the bishops for overlooking the threat of Jihad. I think she means events like 9/11 and the Madrid train bombings, but just in case I'm taking her out of context I'll include Newsnight, the Evening News and Working Lunch. Yet, of course, Saddam Hussein was not involved in any of these things. Melanie, unlike those with a working mind and a fairly up to date knowledge of current affairs, still believes that Saddam was linked to Al Qaeda and friends. She still thinks Stephen Hayes' glorified Tom Clancy novel The Connection is proof, despite it being long refuted by experts, including Dick Cheney, who audaciously denied that he had ever claimed there was such a link in the debate with John Edwards last year (and got away with it). I don't think Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and Iran at the behest of Al Qaeda (who, of course, overwhelmingly opposed the former) and I don't see what the ruler of Iraq had to gain by any attempt "to restore the medieval caliphate." Still, obfuscation and a disregard for the intelligence of her audience comes naturally to her. That does bother me. When she isn't typing in her "diary" (dear diary, I've been writing about terror for two whole years now, and still nobody listens to me. Is it just me, or am I going crazy?) she is popping up in The Daily Mail, which regrettably some people very close to me choose to read at least twice a week. They are not her target audience. They're not bigots, warmongers or uptight schoolmaster types. What they do seek is an understanding of what is going on, and they will never get that from her evil, illogical and insulting discharges.

A real logician, Ludwig Wittgenstein, famously ended his treatise by stating that his work was like a ladder, which had to be climbed, then kicked away once the reader was at the summit. In a similar vein, Melanie Phillips demands to be read, refuted, exposed and ultimately disregarded. After one has cut through her contradictory positions and half truths, they are left with little than childish tantrums on paper, that need not be considered because they desparately scream at the reader as if from an era rapidly passing into irrelevance. Her nutcase defences of the Israeli government, no matter how much they defy international law, her desire to indiscriminately sweep away those threatening her position of privilege, even if it means killing hundreds of innocents in the process. The twisted facts and logic that grow from these core values, like stinking weeds, are easily cleared away, and even the most obsessive types (regretably that means me) know that is time to get down to business and make the world a better place (anti-war demo on Saturday) rather than wasting too many resources on such feeble distractions. At least until she next surfaces. Now, I must get on, lest anybody accuse me of "comparing" Melanie Phillips with Ludwig Wittgenstein.
You have to be more careful not to fall for these Ann Coulter types. Women and politics will inevitably produce such rantings sooner or later. I would not like to be sitting at the other end of an arguement with Ms Phillips simply because it would become the typical domestic arguement where the man will NOT win, because we have a need to make sense. If it's one thing women are especially good at, it's twisting your words into sharpened cutlery and throwing them back. And furthermore, doesn't "And apologise for whom/what exactly?" not sound like something straight out of a domestic arguement? Pretending the obvious isn't obvious.

Speaking of women, check out Vox Day's articles 'Women, fear and embottled Genies' and 'Mailvox: an insult to Nazis everywhere' where he states that the term "feminazi" is more offensive to the German National Socialist Workers Party than to feminists. It's a good laugh, if not a pretty good article.

PS: I've had to type word verification TWO bloody times obviously when the word is "rlhrllpmb" written in jiggly wiggly.
toqwflwll- NOUN: a Welsh mountain village.

I'm not going to slam the silly mare because she's a woman, since I believe they are just as capable of reasoning as the guys. It's also important to bear in mind that most of the right wing nutballs I oppose have a very warped attitude to women's rights (their role in society, their right to choose). Miss Coulter in fact said once that she thinks a woman's right to vote should be restricted, presumably because the majority have the good sense to vote against the Bush types that red blooded men seem to love so much.
The list of the men who cannot reason well is gigantic, but lets start with Bill O'Reilly, Simon Heffer, Paul Johnson, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, etc... (there are MANY more). They are at the opposite end of the scale from the likes of Naomi Klein and Arundhati Roy, who are very smart, politically aware and logical. I looked at Vox Day and I'm a bit confused where he is coming from. I see that he tentatively backed the war in Iraq and has links on his website to National Review Online.
Don't get me wrong. I don't doubt there are great women politicians or their ability to make good logical arguements politically-speaking. I was under a different impression that the right-wingers were pro-women's rights however. Then again maybe I got mixed up in all that political labelling that Americans seem so fond of. Right-wing, left-wing, democrat, republican, conservative, libertarian etc etc. If only life were as simple as Good and Evil huh.

I'm not familiar with other anti-feminist conservatives and their 'warped' opinions, but Vox Day does point out some interesting facts. If birthrates are seriously declining in Europe and America as Vox states, it is obviously the role of women in society to eventually raise children and replace the population. In fact, I find it more 'warped' that opinions of modern career women who think it easy to juggle a career with family. Which is probably why more women are opting out of marriage or eventually divorcing. This problem is no stranger to Singapore as well, with more women entering the workforce and coincidentally coming hand-in-hand with increasing divorce rates, lower birthrates and less marriages altogether. Vox mentions some statistics and comments on the career woman here if you want.

As for voting, Vox is universally against the whole concept which I tended to disagree with. But he goes on to say:
"I'm generally against any universal "right to vote", but I consider that of little importance either way. Voting is not a significant right, as one can see in Cuba, the former Soviet Union, the former Iraq and many other nations. Voting has proven to be ineffective in protecting the rights of life, liberty and property and is largely irrelevant, especially in a modern two-party system. It's designed to be valve to blow off popular pressure, nothing more."

In otherwords, voting does not neccessarily = free society. His mention of Singapore is a good example of a "democratic" nation that tops the Heritage Foundation's Index of Economic Freedom, but yet has severe restrictions on voting and political representation. Nonetheless, you can read his article below on why he thinks, given certain facts, that women shouldn't be able to vote.

I dont think people NOT voting Bush has so much to do with the "right sense", as with their own personal agendas, such as abortion rights for example. That would imply women who had the right sense to vote Kerry versus prowar men resulted in the near 50-50 elections. If given that the angle Coulter was coming from was the same as Vox's mentioned in the article linked above, then maybe she is doing a bit of homework at least.

PS: I was pretty sure Vox is anti-war. Which post was it that implied otherwise?

"In any event, I've concluded that it doesn't really matter what anyone thinks. I estimate that within 40 years, Western women will lose most of their perceived gains, including the right to vote. It took 70 years for Soviet-style Communism to fall apart, and the sterility and social pathologies of the equalitarian society cause me to conclude that it is even more precarious." -Vox Day
mqpqqsmd- NOUN: an African mammal that licks in its private parts to keep warm in the evening.

I had a good look through his posts and one of the earlier ones stated his tentative backing for Iraq.

btw, there is a bit of a divergence between Europe and SE Asia on what constitutes a free society. In my view economic freedom is absolutely NOT a yardstick for freedom, especially when coming from the pro-rightwing Heritage Foundation. In many SE Asian countries the economic gain has been used as a justification by the likes of Mahatir and Lee Kuan Yew to have what I perceive as a poor level of human rights. Mind you, compared to the supposedly free economies (at the total expenese of the country's population) of Suharto and Pinochet I'd say that the people of Singapore are getting off lightly. The policies of economic freedom which the HF wants have helped many countries in Africa to sink way below acceptable standards when it come to health and education. I mean for heaven's sake, the bottom countries in that list include Zimbabwe and Cuba. in the former voting is VERY restricted, and done under intimidation, while in Cuba there is basically no democracy because policies are dictated by the government which has been in power since 1959. Does this guy scrutinise his facts? Or form an opinion and then selectively select the ones which back them up?

Democracy in one way or another guarantees a freer society and allows for the "correction" of misguided government policies. So, in China at the time of Mao's Great Leap Forward and the hideous famine, a well informed population with the right to oppose their government and access to an unbiassed press could have prevented millions of deaths.

In Europe there is a "problem" with lower birthrates,although I sometimes feel that 6 billion + little miracles is enough for now. The way around this is surely a better benefits system such as the one the French government is proposing to allow families with three kids of more to be financed by the government and to spend more time at home. This is the sort of policy that the Heritage Foundation would be against, since RW America, especially the lunatic Reaganites in power now, are supposedly against government intervention in the economy or enacting welfare measures that would require higher taxes. In Bowling for Columbine that underpriveleged mother certainly could not stay at home and raise her child. I do not think women have a "role". Some are crappy mothers, some should be as far away from their kid as possible. Some men are better parents. I have lived my life by the belief that we make our own roles, they are not given to us. Both my parents had to work their asses of when I was younger and theys till don't see each other nearly enough.

As for the idea that voting is not a significant right...well, the examples are bizarre. The Soviet Union? Cuba? Iraq (presumably that's Saddam's Iraq)?? There was a damn good reason why these people couldn't vote, and that was because the elites wanted to have a stranglehold on power. Saying that a two-party system is useless is correct; do soemthing about it. In Europe many countries are not familiar with this problem, especially those with proportional representation.

Obviously when I say that somebody has the good sense to vote against Bush that is being subjective,a naturally this is going to be on the basis of what their agenda is. That has always been what voting is about. If a government restricts this right then they are no longer representing the will of their population, no? And of course, if there is no voting, where do these representatives come from? Who has asked for them? The population should participate as much as possible in the affairs that govern their lives, and never entrust them to a bunch of intellectuals wielding power. And I don't think the election was just men v women. There were bigger issues at stake than abortion in that one. And bear in mind that a third of the ountry didn't vote at all. I must state again, I really don't think that your gender dictates your opinions or reasoning too much.

He also manipulates his facts:

"Only 22 years after women received the right to vote in Switzerland, that country passed an amendment to its constitution giving the federal government the right to pass legislation relating to firearms. Within four years, legislation had passed requiring permits for weapons purchases, permits for bearing arms in public and banning handguns"

What the hell does women's rights have to do with guns? Women can vote in the US, no? To take two entirely different subjects (within the span of "only" either of our lifetimes) and shove them together isn't logical, it's the same chicanery Ann Coulter uses. And where is the backing for the statement that women will lose their right to vote soon? Where does the figure 40 years come from? The sky? I mean, I've spent a good ten-fifteen minutes typing these rebuttals, and I keep thinking to myself, is this a big joke? Can he be serious?
I believe that was the point he was trying to make. That there is not neccessarily a correlation between the right to vote and guaranteeing freedom. In places such as Singapore and Zimbabwe, political intimidation is a powerful tool in guaranteeing landslide victories for political parties in power. And in the case of Singapore at least, it can be shown in frequent that despite their "democratic" image, people fear retribution from the government should they express the "wrong" views. In what has now been termed "calibrated cohersion", people do what they're told. 3 bloggers charged under the Sedition Act, the character assasination of potential presidential candidates, the presence of a platoon of riot police when 4 people (5+ constitutes an illegal gathering by law) silently and peaceful protest in public... these are all acts of the government where no law has been broken but are instrumental in instilling an underlying message to the people. Opposition to the government might not get you assasinated or have your house burnt to the ground, but some have had their lives and careers ruined by defamation lawsuits pursued by none other than LKY and Goh Chok Tong. Sneaky indeed.

I was not actually aware voting was allowed at all in Cuba. But if so, then how does their government dictating policies compare with other 'democratic' nations? Do people here for instance actually get to vote individual policies other than just protesting and petitioning? Do elected presidents or prime ministers always carry out their promised changes to policies once voted in? Or what about "misguided" ones that come into effect during their time?

His example of Switzerland was to illustrate that nothing "positive" has come since women's right to vote. I wouldn't know how big a deal legislation of firearms would be in Switzerland, but given that it has been a "centuries-old militia tradition" perhaps it is. It's not so much about guns as it is about the Swiss' civil liberties. But perhaps if you favour giving up freedoms for security, then this might not be such a negative thing.

I don't dispute that democracy ultimately guarantees freedoms. It gives us the right to make choices. Nor do I think at all that one sex is smarter than the other. But Vox is purely using a cause-and-effect logic and given his observations, one might think negatively of the woman's right to vote.

The problem with birthrates (yes I agree 6 billion is enough) is that they are below or very close to the replacement level to maintain the current numbers. If it takes two children to replace every couple, then couples should have at least two children theoretically speaking to maintain the population. Of course this doesn't take into account premature deaths elsewhere in the population. Speaking of Singapore again, this is even more important given that they depend so much on human resources/manpower to drive their economy. And in some ways, its their own fault for driving so many Singaporeans abroad while trying to attract foreign talent. I have heard of places like Ireland and France being very career-mom friendly and indeed more countries should follow to ensure such women do not lose out financially when having to take time off for family. Government stipends there would definitely be of more use than those moms on welfare popping out kids for the benefits. Somehow in the UK, that seems to be a somewhat abused benefit that only ends up bringing children into dysfunctional homes. It is hard raising a family (properly) whilst both parents work. My own mom has a high responsibility, decent pay and stable albeit demanding job and my dad has been a struggling businessman on the most part. If it weren't for them BOTH, I probably wouldn't have been able to afford this overseas education. So how can I blame them despite the very obvious consequences it has had. Of course the mother in Columbine had far more hardship just to keep her family alive. Hopefully this only shows how hard it is to balance both long-hour jobs and family.

My apologies for not citing the source of that statement regarding his prediction on the decline of women's rights. You can find it here:
You could also check out his August 2005 archive which has much more related material than his current homepage. His prediction of 40years comes from this: Women's rights came into action 30 years ago. The Soviet-style communism failed and collapsed in 70 years. Hence he predicts this would not last any longer.
it's not really the facts i dispute too much, but his use of them. when you say that there is a centuries led militia tradition in Switzerland and that maybe giving up a few freedoms for security could or could not be positive, you are at least being logical because your argument fits together. His does not, because I still do not see how one event will cause something else 22 years later, and be cited as directly responsible.

As for the USSR women's rights analogy, well, lots of things have been introduced in the twentieth century. I think he will find that most moves towards creating freedom (women's rights, voting for minorities, decolonization) are still here, while those that have sought to reign in what i believe is a natural desire for freedom (Stalinism, slavery, fascism)do not stick around. This is not because they grant too much liberty, but because the populations eventually cry bullshit and get rid of them (admittedly with a little help now and then). Once they go, they don't come back because the population is wise to it. Again, i feel that i am over analysing something that to many people would seem obvious, but comparing a movement that restricts liberty with an innovation that enhances it is not a smart exercise. Communism (and he is obviously referring to Leninism/Stalinism here) was NOT equality.

In most democratic countries democracy is very incomplete, at i only hinted at my real beliefs in the last comment. i am very very left wing on this issue and i think maximum participation by the population is desirable. in England and the US a government can enact all kinds of legislation unchallenged, and the idea of impeaching a government for failing to implement its promises seems like a big joke to many.

The one obvious answer to his thesis thatnothing positive has come from a woman's right to vote is to ask a woman. She may complain that she doesn't get everything she wants in a democracy, but then who does. It's the compromises of the world that make sure that we never get all we want.

The person replying to Vox obviously is as obsessive as i am in defending what many take for granted and see as common sense. He is very cogent and it seems to me that Vox is on the back foot all the way throughout. His willingness to put women in the same category as children is downright offensive, and like Ms Phillips, I think once you challenge such people you cut throug to their core values and see that no argument will convince them, not because they have strong opinions but because they have strong prejudices.
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