Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Evil old me - Bump up

Update: This just in from a pro-life person of my acquaintance. She says, "Good analysis of the pro-life situation here. You are certainly right about SPUC and the attitude of others to it."

Aren't I clever? And I figured it out using only my All-Powerful Brain, the evidence and past experience...just like Sherlock Holmes.

* ~ * ~ *

Another reader writes (sympathetically) "You'll probably find that any positive comments about the BNP take up an awful lot of your time and energy dealing with the reaction."


To Which Aitchdubya replies: S'ok. I've been disgusted with the incredible stupidity and childishness of British politics for some time and I'm interested enough in trying to force people to think rationally (using their brains! What an idea!) that I'm willing to put up with some irritation. The BNP is like a claxon, just talking about them at all get's people's attention. Once we have their attention, we apply the rod of Rational Thought with a firm and unyeilding hand.

...and besides, all my life I've been told that one of my main faults is that I do not suffer fools. This will help me practice.

* ~ * ~ *

I'm really quite mad.

I think I'm going to keep this one on top for a while. Scroll down for highlights of the MPs debate on the HFE Bill. Frankly, with the quality of thinking displayed therein, I am beginning to think we might be better off if the conspiracy theorists were right and we are being governed by a small cabal of moneyed interests and space aliens.

* ~ * ~ *


Warning: This is going to be a very long post about my personal beliefs. If you are like me, you will see this disclaimer, realise it is now going to get very boring around here and move on to the Daily Dilbert or to Hansard or some other more amusing thing. But if you are the obsessive type who has no life or if you are a humourless, pinch-faced female representative of the British All Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group, you might want to heed my caution that I am going to become very personal and very personally insulting in a few moments.

Continue at your own risk.

I noted a few months ago that I am normally fairly reticent about letting people know what I really think.

I shall wait until the laughter has died down and people have resumed their seats.

...

...

Perhaps on the Last Day when all things are revealed, it will amaze both friends and enemies that, despite having blogged for years, I have become progressively more private and have learned not to be forthcoming about my personal beliefs and especially about my political positions. There will be, I predict, genuine wonderment at the number of times I have refrained from telling people what I really think, of their clothes, their jokes, their politics, their intelligence, the size of their feet, noses and egos alike.

It is also true that I keep my actual political and religious opinions to myself and share them only with intimates. Partly because they are works in progress, and partly because they are simply none of your damn business. Normally when someone demands to know what my position is up front, I’m inclined to tell them to go to hell.

I know that my ideas would be decidedly odd to most people and I’m not interested in going to a lot of trouble to defend or explain them. But the oddness of my thought processes has led me in some very interesting and unexpected directions and have made for an interesting life, both inner and external. So I am generally pleased with them. I do not keep my ideas to myself because I am unsure of their rightness, trust me.

But it must be said that there is no political party on earth that represents them fully. This is an important point to keep in mind as you slog through this tedious and dreary post. So important that I will say it again. There is no political party in this country or any other that fully represents my ideas about how I think the civic secular order should be run.

As I’ve just said in a different context, I'm terribly chary of climbing on board anyone's bandwagon. I’m not a joiner, in general.

In truth, and all facetiousness aside, my politics is informed by my Catholicism, particularly by my Traditionalist (that is, pre-Vatican II) Catholicism that posits the necessity of the Catholic Confessional State to create a social order conducive to human happiness and eternal salvation. I have found that in neo-conservative Catholic circles, (among the very, very few who know what the terms mean) this position is even more reviled than paid-up membership in the BNP would to wishy-washy quasi-pro-life British Parliamentary activists...but I’m getting ahead of myself.

There, I hope you’re happy. I’ve just admitted Something Real about what I think. It won’t happen again soon.

In fact, I don’t think there is a word in the mainstream political lexicon to describe my position. Perhaps “Catholic feudal paleo-conservative” might come close, but these terms have become so fluid as to be almost useless. Perhaps simply “Rightwing” (alloneword) will have to suffice, but only for the same reason Cardinal Ratzinger was and is regarded as an “archconservative” by his media detractors.

It may be interesting to some that I have occasionally taken political compass tests and found that the Catholic feudal paleo-conservative political view for which there is no name, comes out when tested as officially “moderate” centrist-conservative. I’ve had this result several times on different tests so maybe it means something.

But of course, these terms are subject to interpretation by the beholder. How Rightwing one is nearly always depends upon who is doing the observing and I believe that the “traditional” divisions of modern-era politics are becoming increasingly useless as the painful realities of our world continue to press in upon us and crowd us all together in some unexpected ways.

Needless to say, I harbour no hopes whatever that my ideas will become mainstream or that the world will come sufficiently to its collective senses to adopt any of them. At least, not until the Parousia and the Restoration of All Good Things.

Most of what you read here of my opinions is not particularly serious and what I write here is largely meant to force an alternate viewpoint from the mainstream into the consciousness of my readers. I also have a great deal of difficulty taking politicians or their works seriously. I’ve met them. I’ve read the unbelievably stupid things they say in Parliament, and I’ve learned that there is no way to support the great majority of them.

For the most part I like a joke and enjoy misdirecting, tweaking, and sometimes even deliberately irritating those around me. I especially enjoy the undoubtedly perverse pleasure of poking my stick into the hornet’s nest of British religious politics to watch the tiny impotent fury of the insects as they bounce off my fully functioning Rational Thought Shielding.

Some years ago, I amused a friend by telling him my method of dealing with readers, politicians, lobbyists and bishops who especially annoy by a carefully structured bloggers’ method. Step one: ridicule, mockery and public humiliation; Step two: vicious personal abuse; Step three: banishment to the outer darkness.

The people who like this sort of thing are generally the people at whom the joke is never pointed. They come back a lot and have read me for a long time. It’s like a small but very snooty club in high school. And that is precisely how I like it.

My gleeful enjoyment of the squirming discomfort of the humourless and pedantic is probably something about which I ought to speak to a competent spiritual director. I’m sure it comes under the heading of sins of Pride and possibly of uncharity, but for the moment it is enough to understand that this, for good or ill, is just a part of my character, whatever childhood trauma or deprivation may have induced it. (And if this is the case, I have to say it is an argument for more of that particular type of trauma and childhood deprivation; the humour of the world may be improved thereby.)

On all of this, I am willing to receive criticism from authorised sources. Just this weekend I was given the opportunity to hear some of this from just such a source and am happy to have done so. But I caution that if a random reader thinks that he may now jump in with his tuppence, I can almost guarantee that he is not on the list and will receive what such people receive at this site according to the above policy. As I have said in the commbox rules, “My blog is my universe,” of which I am the petty tyrannical dictator.

You’re wondering why I’m telling you all this.

It is all to preface a rejoinder to what was no doubt a hasty and ill-considered notice I received third hand at someone else’s blog. This notice was in the way of a denouncement from someone who identified herself as “Anastasia” and claims to be a spokesman for the All Party Parliamentary Pro Life Group, thus:

I don't think any of the major Pro-Life groups would welcome
any political association with a supporter of the violent, racist BNP.


Pro-Life affirms the dignity of all human persons regardless of their ethnic
or religious background. Support for or membership of parties with explicitly
racist policies such as the BNP is thus incompatible with any official role
in a Pro-Life organisation.

Putting on my official hat, I can categorically state that the All Party
Parliamentary Pro Life Group has no interest whatsoever in working with
Hilary White for the above mentioned reasons.

You yourself would do well to examine a person's political views before
inviting them to organise Pro-Life activists so as to avoid bringing the
movement into disrepute, or causing yet another damaging split.


Allow me to put on my official hat for a moment and say that, for reasons given below, there is little danger of me asking any of the All Party Parliamentary Pro Life Group for a job. Or even an interview. As far as I have seen, they have distinguished themselves only by their abject failure, and, if we really want to know my personal opinion, would serve best by being formally disbanded. In various conversations, I have learned that many other pro-life advocates and private persons with pro-life views in this country feel much the same, though in some cases it would do damage to their work to admit it publicly.

Politicians do not impress me. Still less do lobbyists who cannot lift their heads out of the inane political prejudices of their immediate environment.

I did not think it polite at the time to fill up Someone Else’s commbox with the kind of flame war against which I have a prohibition at home. Nevertheless a response is required, I believe. And besides, I can’t resist such a golden opportunity to test my Howizters. It’s been such a long time since I’ve come out and really said What I Really Think; I’m past due for a little stretch of the legs.

Allow me to begin by presenting some home truths about the success of the pro-life movement in this country and particularly in Parliament:

I have a little running contest going with my editors about which country is ahead in the Let’s-Kill-Everyone-In-The-World sweepstakes, Canada or the UK and I admit it is sometimes difficult to detect which is going to take the prize, but for the moment, I’m going to claim the title for Britain on points.

Britain currently leads the western world in the Culture of Death and nowhere is this more evident, or more ideologically committed, than in Parliament. The only countries with worse reputations are former Soviet nations and current communist regimes. So, congratulations to the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group on a job well done.

Last week, a Conservative backbencher MP, Nadine Dorries, who is not “pro-life” but has a reputation for saying what is on her mind, called Britain the “abortion capital of Europe”.

The attitude of the British public is that a “termination” is simply a regrettable but necessary medical procedure. I have posted some thoughts on why the British situation is the worst in the western world and I stand by them.

Britain was the first large industrialized country in the western world to make abortion effectively legal, in 1967.

Here, I wrote that Britain has surpassed the wildest dreams of the Moloch Movement by adopting the most progressive attitude anywhere towards abortion. The British position surpasses that of the Canadians who still cling to some vestige of morality by trying to deny the existence of a child, and therefore disclaim that abortion is murder. In the British medical, academic and political world, the pretense is entirely dropped and there is no disagreement: there is a child, and we are going to kill her. This is the most forthright acceptance of the abortion logic in the world outside the former Soviet bloc, more even than most abortion lobbyists will admit to themselves.

Recently released statistics show that there are nearly 200,000 abortions a year in Britain. Parliament is currently trying to remove the last token restrictions to abortion, while at the same time working to increase “access to contraception”. It is also pushing to have this murderous freeforall imported into Northern Ireland.

The egregiously ignorant and self-contradictory idiocies spewing from the mouths of the Parliamentarians this week on the HFE Bill debate has also shown that the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group has done a topping job of educating their immediate constituents, their fellow- MPs.

The Health Department was recently forced to admit that hundreds of under age girls are getting their children killed at public expense. And Britain has fully embraced eugenics in its laws allowing abortions up to the point of birth for those children suspected of being defective.

Rumour has it (from the Telegraph) that there is an instruction for doctors who fail to murder a child in the womb: they are authorized to kill the child with a lethal injection, should it accidentally be born breathing and not in pieces.

Britain is proud of the fact that it has led the world in the pursuit of the Fountain of Youth and Immorality by creating and tearing apart human beings at the earliest stages of life for stem cells.

The National Health Service now routinely allows patients to be dehydrated to death against their wishes and the wishes of their families. A legal challenge that attempted to give patients the right not to be killed by medical fiat failed, and failed and failed in the British courts, all the way to the European Court of Human Rights who said that Britain’s “legal safeguards” are sufficient. Patients in this country thus have no right to override a doctor’s decision to murder them when they are helpless.

And probably the most damning of all, is the observable fact that the pro-life movement in this country, with the gleaming exception of SPUC and John Smeaton up there alone on their hill, is the most philosophically compromised, inefficient, disorganised, and moribund I have yet to come across in ten years of close worldwide observation.

So, to the Parliamentary All-Party Pro-life Group, all I can say is, “I’m surprised you’re not being paid by Planned Parenthood. You should ask them, since the worker is worthy of his hire.”

I am not an activist. I tried lobbying for a while and found that I was simply not constituted to deal all day long with people who can’t exercise basic principles of rational thought without flying into a rage. The wear and tear it took to refrain from telling politicians, and frequently other activists what I really think, became too much. I’m much better constituted to be a journalist, a blogger, a maker of snippy one-line comments on blogs. All my life I’ve stood slightly to the side and watched other people doing things. There is a proper place for everyone and I’m an observer and a recorder.

That being said, trust me Anastasia, if I were to suddenly come over all activist-minded again, the phone number of the Parliamentary All-Party Pro-life Group would not be the first one I would reach for in the Rolodex. When you’ve got something to show that indicates some kind of dedication to the cause, some kind of energy, initiative, creativity and professionalism, I might take you up on your kind invitation to be told to get lost.

I have noted in my travels that the one thing the pro-life movement excels at is backstabbing their friends. Particularly those people on their side who are judged by the world’s standards as being “too extreme”.

I am now going to shock the uninitiated: there are divisions in the pro-life movement.

My observation has been that these are based on one thing, the desire or lack of desire, to be thought “normal” and “mainstream”, “reasonable” or “a team player.” Something the traditional spiritual writers used to call “human respect”.

I have seen that frequently the worst enemies we have are other pro-life groups who want to be seen as “normal and mainstream” by the pro-abortion world of politics and media.

I’ve sometimes called this Pro-Lifer Stockholm Syndrome, in which the desire to be liked becomes so strong that the person or group ends up joining the enemy. This is especially popular in Canada among the so-called “educational arm” of the pro-life movement that wants above all to be seen as warm, fuzzy and approachable. So much so that it has in many cases abandoned the wildly and almost universally unpopular pro-life position entirely. This may seem like a nasty thing to say, but it is based on years of observation and interaction.

The most egregious example of this was one I met in Nova Scotia several years ago. I had been put in charge of some things for Campaign Life Coalition and had arranged to make a presentation at the monthly meeting of Nova Scotians United for Life, an “educational” group funded by the Catholic Archdiocese of Halifax.

I put it to them that it would be useful for our two groups to work more closely together, respecting our proper roles as the educational and political wings of the same movement.

I was thanked for my offer of keeping them informed but was told quite bluntly that they did not want to work with us.

I was told, “You see, we’re not actually working towards the same goal”.

“We’re not?” said innocent naive I, rather alarmed. “I thought we are all working to make abortion illegal and unavailable.”

“Nono, of course not. You see, we believe a woman does have a right to choose. We just feel that our work is to encourage her to choose an alternative to abortion.”

At this point, I was looking around to see if the exits were clear.

“But that seems to imply,” said I somewhat shakily, “that abortion is an acceptable choice.”

“Of course it is.”

“But, forgive me if I’m being combative here, you are funded by the Church aren’t you?”

“Yes.”

“Well, it’s the teaching of the Church that abortion is always and in every circumstances well...wrong. And that it is our duty to try to stop it.”

I was then assured that this was not the teaching of the Church.

You see, since Vatican II, the Church is understood not just to be the priests and bishops, and especially not just the Vatican, but the entire people. And since not all the people in the Church agree on abortion, actually there is no Catholic teaching on the subject of abortion.

This group had gone all the way over to the other side in its desire to be seen as “reasonable”, “moderate”, “approachable”. (Yes, I reported it to the Archbishop, more than once. I believe Nova Scotians United for Life continues in its opinions and continues to receive the bulk of the annual diocesan pro-life collection.)

This phenomenon is only too familiar to those who have spent any length of time in the pro-life movement, and I believe it is universal (that is, not confined to one country). I do not know any member of the “extreme” (ie: pro-life) end of the movement who has not observed it.

Now, about the BNP. One of the things that has struck me as weird in this weird country is the bizarre shrieking hysteria in certain political circles and in the media over the existence of the BNP.


I have this to say in response: “Are we six?”

Is this the schoolyard? Am I being excluded from the cool kids group because I have a funny nose? Can we please grow up a little? Can we stand for a moment to make some clear headed observations? And can we please do it without the ritualistic spitting on the ground that so many believe is the necessary opening to talk about them?

The BNP are interesting and an important political phenomenon, they are the canary in the political coal mine and are taken seriously as such even by Labour (“British jobs for British workers”...sound familiar?) There are a lot of people, people without a personal stake in being liked by the mainstream parties, who have been giving the BNP some thought, and I’m one of them.

I’ve read their manifesto, and I’ve spoken to some of their leadership and they are a genuinely grassroots political movement. All the more interesting since such a thing is nearly impossible in the current situation in which political parties exist only at the sufferance of the Two Big Ones and their friends in the financial world and media.

Lots of people, few of whom are “BNP supporters” have noted this. The party’s success is getting them quite a bit of airtime lately and where there was once a concerted effort to ignore them out of existence, their popularity with the public has forced media not only to acknowledge their existence but to air their views. It was noted recently that the BNP’s website is the most visited of all the party websites put together. People are interested in them and for good reason.

The simple fact is that the BNP is a backlash party. A result of the “mainstream” Conservative party abandoning its traditional political positions. If Toryism had not followed the current fashion for “re-branding” itself as the warm fuzzy left to try to attract Labour voters, the BNP would never have come into such a position of prominence.

It is also the result of people getting fed up with being told patent untruths by mainstream politicians. When Labour, Conservatives and Lib Dems all tell the people of, say, Blackbourne, that mass immigration from the seething hellholes of the Third World is the best thing to ever happen to their community, it is natural that they would turn to the party that refuses to deny what everyone can plainly see.

It is also as refreshing as a cool swim in a sultry Toronto summer, to hear them say out loud what nearly everyone outside Westminster is really thinking. That alone is probably explanation enough for a great deal of their growing popularity.

It is interesting to note that recently an experimental poll was taken on BNP policies, but without telling those polled whence the policies originated. The support for the BNP’s policies was overwhelming when the people were not hampered with the weird hysterical loathing of the party itself.

But the effect of the anti-BNP hysteria is to create a frightened atmosphere of politically correct silence. People refuse to say anything about any of these issues for fear of getting slapped with exactly what I’ve been slapped with.

I am not the only one to have noted the deleterious effect this self-censorship has had on democratic freedoms in this country. I have observed that the people who might otherwise have been spending the last 30 years or so developing a strong comprehensive conservative political movement, have instead spent the time back-pedalling as fast as possible from any genuinely conservative positions for fear of being branded as “Enoch Powell” followers.

Well, as of this month, those days are gone and it is time for the wretchedly ineffectual conservative movement to get off its collective rear ends.

One of the first things I noted as extremely telling was that the shriekers hurl exactly and precisely the same epithets at the BNP as they do at pro-lifers in general. This meant there had to be something interesting in there. Because of my constitutional inclination to curiosity and observation, it is this very hysteria that first made me interested in the BNP as a significant British political phenomenon. That they exist at all, is an important indicator of what is going wrong in this country, and particularly with the Tory party.

What Anastasia’s shrieking denouncement reminds me of most is the frantic back-pedalling of an insecure sophomore trying to get accepted by a posh college fraternity but who has friends or relatives who might be seen as unacceptable to the desirable cool kids. Having been a somewhat isolated and bullied child in school, I’m only too familiar with the experience.

This denouncement told me pretty much everything I needed to know about the Parliamentary All-Party Pro-life Group. Actually, it more or less just confirmed what I had surmised by other circumstantial evidence. Terrified of being seen as “extreme” (meaning genuinely pro-life), these are company men who will do anything, denounce anyone, stab any friend or colleague in the back, commit character assassination, calumny, detraction or libel to avoid being tarred with the ‘conservative’ brush.

All pro-lifers are accustomed to being called “fascists”, “racists”, “Nazi’s” etc. It is part of the fun actually. But Anastasia, (and all the detractors both of the BNP and the pro-life movement) has forgotten that there is one rule in political debate:

The first person who screams “racist” has conceded the argument.

Or, as someone recently said, (I can’t remember where I read this), “It is not intolerance to say the truth. In actual fact, it is intolerance to yell 'bigot' or 'racist' when you disagree with someone because you have no logical argument to offer in response.”

What “truth” am I saying that has garnered this hysterical and rather imprudent denunciation from our friends in the Parliamentary All-Party Pro-life Group? That the pro-life position is at the same time, both naturally conservative and ‘extreme’.

Now it is simply an uncomfortable fact that is seen by many “pro-lifers” who like to be liked, that the genuine pro-life position (which I like to sum up as “you can’t kill people to solve your problems) is, in our current political climate, a naturally “conservative” one. And the media oracles tell us that conservative = bad. It is “fascist”, it is evil, it is racist, it is any number of awful things, because it clings doggedly to the notion of objective reality and does not admit of the now-standard liberal fantasies.

“Liberals” in our time do not hold a pro-life position. Cannot hold it for reasons too complicated to go into here and having much to do with their fundamental denial of the Principles of Rational Thought. But Liberals rule the world. Their thought is the “mainstream” of politics, media, academia, the professions, the medical world and the Churches. So to dissent from that is to be a de facto radical and to leave oneself open to the charges and punishments normally meted out to anyone outside the mainstream. And no one likes to be out of the cool kids club.

This is the price one has to accept for being a pro-life person in our times. It cannot be avoided. People will hate you. You will not be invited to the right parties.

Sorry, Anastasia, but it’s true. I submit that the sooner the members of your little club accept this, the sooner they can start being more effective.

Some groups around have accepted this.

In Canada, Campaign Life Coalition has been on the receiving end of attacks from within and without the pro-life movement for its entire history.

In the US, American Life League is frequently denounced by the “cool” and “mainstream” pro-lifers as too “extreme”.

In Britain, though I am not familiar with the details, I am given to understand that the pro-life position doggedly held by SPUC is regularly backed away from by those who like to be liked.

Pro-lifers learn early to suck it up and get on with the task.

They also do not ally themselves to the fashionable political trends or parties. It is necessary to choose a side and to make common cause with anyone who is on your side.

Now, just in case anyone is interested in my own political beliefs, I will say that I am a Tory. Literally. I am a paid up member of the Tory party. And one who is delighted by their recent amazing electoral success. Joining the party was one of the first things I did here. In fact, it was even before I got my phone line installed.

That being said, I must thank Anastasia for making for me a point that I have been trying to get across for some time.

The pro-life movement in Britain welcomes everyone...except anyone who openly and objectively examines the political assumptions of the day without giving the politically correct nod to hating the people we are all supposed to hate.

It is not the first time I have observed the existence of a rigid pro-life political correctness. We are allowed to think only certain thoughts, yes? Accept and support certain memes and assumptions or you have stepped outside the magic ring.

My alleged support for the BNP is a case in point, and the knee-jerk fury it apparently engenders is also very interesting and very telling. It indicates a pro-life movement that has been hopelessly compromised by political expedience and that has therefore lost any hope it has of exercising moral authority. It has joined the group whom it was charged with educating and evangelizing.

Of course, to a combative personality like mine, such hysterical screeching of this kind is too tempting a red flag. So, let's just break a few taboos, shall we, and talk openly and dispassionately about what we're so afraid of.

On the pro-life obsession with stabbing their friends in the back: I asked an old pro-life campaigner, John Muggeridge, once why pro-lifers are so addicted to petty squabbling, backbiting and finger-pointing.

It is, he said, simply because they have no power. It's human nature in any political or even social situation for the powerless group to amuse itself by fighting amongst itself.

But it does make a person rather tired.

2 comments:

LYL said...

Hi, I came here via Dale Price's blog.

the necessity of the Catholic Confessional State

I'm inclined to agree.

I too, tend to come out as a centrist on political quizzes (and often slightly to the left of centre, even though I think of myself as socially conservative).

I haven't read all of this post yet (I really must head off to bed) but I look forward to reading the rest on the morrow.

Louise (in Oz)

Agellius said...

"In truth, and all facetiousness aside, my politics is informed by my Catholicism, particularly by my Traditionalist (that is, pre-Vatican II) Catholicism that posits the necessity of the Catholic Confessional State to create a social order conducive to human happiness and eternal salvation."

Mine too. Do you know Dr. John Rao? I have only heard of him from one source and am interested to hear what others think of him. I have listened to several of his lectures, downloaded from keepthefaith.org, and so far as I can tell he's great.

"I have found that in neo-conservative Catholic circles, (among the very, very few who know what the terms mean) this position is even more reviled than paid-up membership in the BNP would to wishy-washy quasi-pro-life British Parliamentary activists...but I’m getting ahead of myself."

So have I. Especially the "very few" part.