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David Thompson
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July 10, 2012

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rjmadden

Because, you know, “facts are sacred.”

Don't be so picky, David. The Guardianistas will tell us which facts are sacred and which ones aren't.

Mike

What will happen when the world of academia has finally taken an ideological shape completely unlike that of the world beyond the campus gates?

It already has happened.

David

Mike,

“It already has happened.”

In some respects, yes, it already has. And I suspect the areas affected will get even less realistic, and potentially more comical, at least until the bursting of the higher education bubble throws a spanner in the works.

Incidentally, I reviewed Indoctrinate U over here. See also this lecture by David Horowitz.

Bryan Peripherality

Because, you know, “facts are sacred.”

There are facts and facts, Mr T. There are truth-facts, which help make the world a better place, and hate-facts, which don't. Inventing truth-facts and censoring hate-facts is not merely virtuous but compulsory, among the caring'n'compassionate community. Or are you some kind of epistemological dinosaur, clinging to outdated, outmoded and outargued* notions of "free enquiry", "free speech" and "objective reality"? Just see the Guardian as the Truth-Police, guiding thought and opinion in the right direction. Or else.

*The left have always had lots of good arguments. They're increasingly deploying the argumentum ad baculum, for example.

David

Oh, and yesterday the Guardian saw fit to romanticise tube train vandals. Apparently the culprits are being artistic and individual, and freeing us from fear. With sledgehammers, spray cans and a repair bill of £10m. But hey, it’s a subculture! It’s all cool, man!

As noted previously, I can’t help wondering how they’d feel if similar graffiti were applied to the offices of the Guardian or the homes of its writers.

Rafi

Apparently the culprits are being artistic and individual, and freeing us from fear.

Nothing says 'safety' like a graffiti-covered tube station...

David

Rafi,

“Nothing says ‘safety’ like a graffiti-covered tube station...”

And yet that would seem to be the thinking of the vandals. Sorry, artists.

The author of the piece, Tom Oswald, says, “I was 12, indestructible and wondering who I was when I first awoke to the adventure of graffiti train writing. It represented a chance to define myself.” Because, you know, that’s what trains and tube stations are for. Letting adolescents define themselves by making the place ugly, degraded and vaguely threatening. Even when those adolescents are well into their thirties and looking rather sad.

AmbushPredator

I'm still marvelling at the concept of the 'vast right-wing Cherokee conspiracy'...

Sam

For graffiti writers the ever-dwindling rewards and ever-increasing penalties are ending the romance

I'm waiting for the Groan to do a piece on the romance of keying people's cars.

David

Sam,

“I’m waiting for the Groan to do a piece on the romance of keying people’s cars.”

Yes, it’s an unfortunate but revealing choice of words. I’d imagine most people’s experience of graffiti on the Underground, or graffiti anywhere, is hardly romantic. It’s more typically the visual equivalent of sitting on a bus seat that stinks of piss and disinfectant.

David Gillies

The insular, self-referential nature of Leftist academia means that when the bubble finally does burst, there will be no Plan B. Contemporary campus 'intellectuals' are so reluctant to engage (or even acknowledge the existence of) viewpoints other than their own that when forced to confront them they are lost. Conservatives and Libertarians might as well be speaking Wyandot. Contrariwise, the 'Right' (for want of a better word) examines and parses Leftist thought, the better to refute it. If 'know thy enemy' is the watchword of successful strategy, then things do not augur well for the ivory tower.

Mags

Even when those adolescents are well into their thirties and looking rather sad.

What is it with the Guardian and antisocial tossers? What are they trying to prove?

Tom Foster

"I can’t help wondering how the Kings Place Massive would feel if similar graffiti were applied to the offices of the Guardian or the homes of its writers."

I'm almost tempted to do it myself, just to enjoy their attempts to explain why it counts as art on most people's property, but vandalism when it's on their shiny new building.

Further to the Guardian's rapid slide into la-la land, did you see Decca Aitkenhead's embarrassing drooling over Clive Stafford-Smith?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/2012/jul/08/clive-stafford-smith-jury-system-insanity?INTCMP=SRCH

There's too much lovely stuff to quote it all, but I'll pick out this:

"'Let me ask you,' he says, 'about the most despicable thing you've ever done in your life, that you're most ashamed of, that you don't want anyone to know. My guess is we'd agree that it's not a criminal offence. It's just something really nasty that you did to someone you love. Now, let's compare the harm in that to the worst criminal offence that's ever been done to you. Which is what?' I have a think, and all I can come up with is having been burgled. 'So, how much impact did that have on you?' It was really inconvenient – but emotional impact? None."

Get that? Burglary shouldn't really matter – it's so, like, bourgeois, right? So mean and materialistic, and all property is theft, remember? Just in case we're not getting it, he goes on:

"Why is it that we define our criminal law in terms of utter irrationality, where nasty things that you and I do have no consequences legally – and things that are really quite inconsequential, poor people end up in prison for. Why is that?"

So hear we have dear Decca approving Stafford-Smith's barking idea of criminalising hurtful speech, while regarding crimes like burglary as of no real consequence.

I'm beginning to think that the Guardian, faced with a seemingly unstoppable decline in revenues (offshore tax stuff notwithstanding), has simply stopped trying to connect with actual people living ordinary lives and has decided to come out into the open at last, no more beating about the bush, and tell us what they *really* believe. And it's quite a scary spectacle.

David

Mags,

What struck me was the older vandal’s claim that their activities “prove people have overcome certain fears about how they’re told to live.” Apparently vandalising trains and tube platforms helps other people overcome fear too. Fear of what wasn’t explained. Fear of train windows you can actually see through, perhaps. But I’m not sure how violating someone else’s property, degrading a shared space and leaving other people with a huge bill for repairs engenders a sense of liberty and wellbeing in others. I mean, does this make you feel a warm glow of bonhomie?

It’s quite odd how some people can profess a worldview that’s an inversion of how the world actually is. That kind of delusion takes effort.

David

Tom,

“Get that? Burglary shouldn’t really matter – it’s so, like, bourgeois, right?”

Exactly, and they must let people see how much they, being sophisticated, disdain the values (and property) of working people. And it would, I think, be interesting to put Mr Stafford Smith’s claims of indifference to the test. Repeatedly.

The smugness is also hard to miss. This, for instance:

At public talks someone always asks if there is anyone he wouldn’t represent, to which he replies: “Well, I’m sorry, I just couldn’t represent a Tory.”… He can cope with serial killers – “It’s just serial people who vote Conservative all the time I find very difficult to understand.”

Thankfully, we understand him.

Tom Foster

David,

'It’s quite odd how some people can profess a worldview that’s an inversion of how the world actually is . . . and they must let people see how much they, being sophisticated, disdain the values (and property) of working people.'

I think it's interesting, how, in order to be properly 'sophisticated' in the Guardian sense, one has to rearrange one's values in such a bizarre, counter-intuitive way. At the same time as adopting the 'society's to blame' mantra, so that burglars and even serial killers are not considered truly responsible for their behaviour and are to be pitied instead of punished, new crimes must be invented to take their place. And these new crimes, such as saying 'offensive' things, must be punished very severely indeed and are never, ever, to be forgiven.

At the risk of sounding a little paranoid, an urge to interfere with and control not just behaviour but actual *thought* is, of course, at the bottom of it all.

David

Tom,

I don’t think it’s paranoid at all. Leftism has always appealed to the vindictive and sadistic. Not exclusively, but remarkably often.

sackcloth and ashes

'Burglary shouldn’t really matter – it’s so, like, bourgeois, right?'

My understanding is that most of the victims of this crime are low-income families. Not that this should matter to a Guardianista.

AC1

Maybe the Grauniad is agreeing with the Right in saying that those on benefits shouldn't be able to afford anything worth stealing?

David

Sackcloth & Ashes,

“My understanding is that most of the victims of this crime are low-income families.”

Despite their pretensions of indifference, I think we can assume that Aitkenhead and Stafford Smith wouldn’t in fact appreciate being burgled, and really wouldn’t like to be burgled repeatedly, with violence, as some victims are. I’ve known people who were burgled every few months and were soon left feeling almost terrorised. When our Guardianistas describe burglary - the violation of one’s home and belongings - as “really quite inconsequential,” this is a fatuous attempt at social positioning. It’s about letting people know how sophisticated they are in relation to those terrible “Tories.” The ‘sophisticated’ implication being that it’s unfair that “poor people end up in prison” for committing crimes that nobody should really care about.

Aitkenhead and Stafford Smith are, of course, much less likely to have such views tested in the real world, as burglary is much more likely to affect working class people in poorer neighbourhoods. And so they pretend to feel sympathy with working class criminals, usually habitual criminals who prey on their neighbours for years, while disdaining the criminals’ working class victims, whose expectations of lawfulness are simply not considered.

It’s the Guardianista way.

Jonathan Apps

Consequences of decriminalising burglary:

(a) Massive incidence of GBH and murder as intended victims try to defend their property.

(b) Collapse of the economy as the incentive to buy goods all but disappears due to the fact that someone stronger will simply take anything one possesses.


Consequence of criminalising offensive speech:
A massively Orwellian society in which everyone is afraid to pretty much open their mouths at all.

Or is it just me?

David

Aitkenhead and Stafford Smith are basically mouthing the same bollocks as China Miéville, a lefty novelist who also shows disdain for the victims of thuggery and theft. As Theodore Dalrymple noted in reply to Miéville,

One cannot say often enough that the victims of crime are, like the perpetrators, more likely to be poor than rich. For example, single-parent households in Britain have a more than one-in-20 chance of being burgled in any given year; and since most burglars are recidivists, indeed multiply so, it follows that the class of victim is much larger than the class of perpetrator. Leniency toward criminals is not therefore a form of sympathy for the poor, but a failure to take either their lives or their property seriously.

But Dalrymple would no doubt be sneered at as one of those awful “Tories.”

Years ago, I worked at a large recording studio, often through the night. The studio was in a converted factory in a fairly rough part of town. Every so often a local gang of youths would try to break in after dark when the offices in the building had closed, presumably unaware that we were still working. Their attempts to break in weren’t successful, but it’s not pleasant to hear the hammering of half a dozen youths armed with crowbars. We once saw the same gang from an office window. The younger members – aged 10 or so – rode bikes and scouted the area for potential witnesses before giving the all clear. Then the older members would attempt a spot of burglary. And given they were armed with crowbars, who knows what else. Many Guardianistas would nonetheless have us believe that these people are the victims of some ill-defined injustice and tragic circumstance. They were in fact very organised predators.

Mr Andrew D Rowe

This article about Graffing was one of the few on the Guardian where the author was given a right old bollocking in their comments section. It seems that the left do have some respect for property after all.

Stuck-Record

I have always had a deep loathing for Stafford Smith's posturing. But this takes the biscuit. Hurting the one you love is worse than burglary? Really? You think?

Smith insinuates that our current priorities, regarding burglary, are incorrect. As usual the thought processes of a leading leftist are deliberately obscure. What exactly is he saying? If you attempt to follow his logic it seems that there are only three possible outcomes. Since he deliberately doesn't make it clear which one he favours, we are left to draw our conclusions.

1. After appropriate legislation, law enforcement should forget burglary and concentrate on punishing those who have inflicted emotional damage on loved ones. Since Smith's position is that emotional damages is a worse crime than burglary.

2. After appropriate legislation, law enforcement should split its time between burglary and punishing those who have inflicted emotional damage on loved ones. Since Smith's position is that emotional damage is an equivalent to burglary.

3. After appropriate legislation, burglary (and possibly all other crimes against property) should be removed from the statute books. Since Smith's position is that neither burglary or emotional damage are crimes.

I know logic is not these peoples forte but, really?

sackcloth and ashes

'When our Guardianistas describe burglary - the violation of one’s home and belongings - as “really quite inconsequential,” this is a fatuous attempt at social positioning'.

The only way you could possibly believe in such crap is if you are in that comfortable position of not having to worry about whether your can pay your bills. I suspect that a lot of Guardianistas are in this privileged position. In which case I'd be happy to see burglars raid their houses on a regular basis, and to also do the kind of atavistic stunts (such as shitting on people's beds and floors) with which they add insult to injury.

Dr Cromarty

So Aitkenhead and CSS would be totally ok with me posting signs up where they live or tweeting their addresses and dates they'll be on holiday.

Totally ok with that?

No, thought not. Which gives the lie to their posturing.

dicentra

So Aitkenhead and CSS would be totally ok with me posting signs up where they live or tweeting their addresses and dates they'll be on holiday.

Always test your hypotheses, just to be sure. No need to speculate when actual evidence can be obtained.

Dr Cromarty

Dicentra, their lawyers would be onto it before you could say 'breaking and entering'

Sven

Not worried about this because the entire education model is going to change, and soon. If something is unsustainable...

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