Sunday, 31 March 2013
The Headhunters' Pick of the Political Web This Week (w/e Mar. 30, 2013)
As you may well expect, here at Headhunters Politics we spend a lot of time reading across the internet's political media. Every week we're going to bring you a selection of the articles that have particularly stood out to us, and talk about them a little. Articles are numbered according to chronology rather than preference; suffices to say, they're all worth a look or they wouldn't be here.
1. Mehdi Hasan - New Statesman: The sorry truth is that the virus of anti-Semitism has infected the British Muslim community
Now this is cheating a little in that this piece actually comes from the Thursday before last, but I only read it during the past week and this is our first week of doing this anyway. What really staggered me (pun intended) about this is that Hasan, who is very quick to shout 'Islamophobia!' and claim victimhood for Muslims then writes this and cannot see any possible contradiction.
There's a self-congratulatory tone of bravery in the article for mentioning the issue. Perhaps it's justified, though if were him I'd see it as a duty to tell the truth about the community I claim to represent. Mehdi himself (or as I sometimes call him Right Said Mehd) is an interesting fellow, and maybe worth an article of his own on here one day.
Islamophobia is a term I detest, as what it's really used for is to dismiss any concern with Islam, whether there may be any legitimacy or not. If there's one thing I can't stand, it's the attempt to silence people's views as unfashionable and outside of legitimate debate; if your case is so strong and the one you're not confronting so weak, have it out using those quaint old things logic and reason. Whether you call this trend political correctness or anything else, it's unjustifiable.
So what we have here is Mehdi "Islamophobia!" Hasan bravely bringing up an issue that justifies some concerns people may have with the UK's Muslim community and its attitudes. Yet, if others were to raise such concerns then he'd be among the first to shout it down while probably accusing the person of being part of the EDL or BNP.
I'm not saying a majority or significant number of Muslims are extreme or radicalised. Frankly, I have no idea how many are. But neither do those who, whenever a naughty Muslim hits the news, start banging on about tiny minorities and vast majorities of Muslims. So thanks Mehdi for your bravery in shedding some light on this. How about being a bit more consistent in future?
2. Jon Gabriel - The Commentator: Earth Hour and the anti-science Left
Last Saturday, anyone on Twitter could not have missed legions of people going on about Earth Hour, in which people try to use as little electricity as possible for one hour so they can congratulate themselves for being so green.
I myself tweeted: '#EarthHour sums up leftist mindset. Do something slight like make sure to recycle your Guardian and self-convince you've made a difference.'
Gabriel's sublime article goes far beyond just mocking the obviously ridiculous mindset behind Earth Hour, but actually points out how it is actively detrimental to the cause it seeks to promote. Fine work.
3. Media Guido - Guido Fawkes: Digital First Telegraph Go Behind Semi-Paywall
On Tuesday Guido Fawkes brought us the news that the online Telegraph would be going behind a paywall, in which we'll be limited to 20 articles a month before we have to pay up. Here at Headhunters we're busily trying to work out our ration. The lion's share will be made up of Daniel Hannan and James Delingpole, with the occasional Ed West and Peter Oborne.
Guido told us a little later that The Sun would also be going behind a paywall. We don't read that much though, so we're not as fussed.
4. David Weigel - Slate: Flashback: When Democrats Swore They Would Never Back Gay Marriage
Same-sex marriage has been up before the Supreme Court in the United States this week. The issues surrounding both gay marriage and the SCOTUS are things too detailed for the purview of this article (you already saw how I went off on one at the Mehdi piece), but seeing top Democrats Hillary Clinton and Harry Reid say they fully support the traditional definition of marriage is a good chuckle.
5. Elfin MacKenzie (Tabloid Troll) - Insider Speak...: The Hysteria around Lucy Meadows - An Alternative View
Believe it or not, I don't read The Daily Mail much, nor make a point of reading Richard Littlejohn (though I don't dislike him). The first I heard of this story was when Howard Goodall, whom I follow on Twitter, linked to the petition mentioned in the article. Howard Goodall is a composer and musician who's bound to have written many TV themes you'll recognise and also made a great show recently for BBC2 about the history of music, and though I'd put money on him being a leftie, I've never seen him tweet about politics.
For Goodall to retweet something political(ish) then, it must be something pretty big. Sure enough, the petition speaks about a transgender woman (that is to say, former man) who had been mocked by Littlejohn, pursued by packs of journalists and committed suicide. Sounds like a very zeitgeisty and clear-cut tale of good and evil, doesn't it? Well, check out the Tabloid Troll article and make up your own mind.
6. Thomas E. Woods, Jr. - YouTube: Keynesian Predictions vs. American History
OK, so my pick for #5 was more about the media than politics, but it's all related and public attitudes influenced by media subsequently affect politics. Another tangential relation to politics is economics, something which I'm interested in to the point of having a degree about it. I like to think I'm pretty good with the subject and especially the arguments for the libertarian side of the discipline, but Woods makes several points I'd not considered. Even if you're not too up to speed on the subject, he's a good enough speaker that you should get the gist. You'll also note that it's from 2010, but it's this week that we watched it, so there it is.
That's our pick of the past week. Stay tuned to Headhunters Politics as we bring you more comment, opinion and analysis.
By Jonathan Headington