David Thompson
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November 03, 2013

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Anna

It is evidence of a bizarre ethical and intellectual failure that one can romanticise this cause of death and destruction in a piece that is devoted to the horrors of casual sexism

Laurie Penny in a nutshell.

David

Laurie Penny in a nutshell.

It does capture something of her… psychological peculiarities. Though I suppose it takes a kind of skill, or at least an extraordinary bloody-mindedness, to see those events and somehow, in the face of all evidence, construe the thugs and predators as victims and therefore entitled to a spot of arson, pillage and murder. She wasn’t alone of course. The Marxoid philosopher and fellow Guardian contributor Nina Power did the same, as did the leftist lecturer Priyamvada Gopal. And as did China Miéville, another titan of the left who’ll perform any contortion to excuse a fit of thuggery. Interviewed in 2011, he claimed to be “horrified” by the use of the word “feral” when describing what he refers to as “troubled” teenagers. To describe as feral the kind of people who punch female fire-fighters insensible and burn women out of their homes – randomly, for fun - is, according to Mr Miéville, our “moral degradation far more than [theirs].” Yes, by referring to such behaviour in unsympathetic terms, we are the degraded ones, the ones in need of fixing.

You have to wonder, were their minds broken before they embraced the far left, did their emotional shortcomings draw them to that worldview? Or did prolonged exposure to Marxoid politics turn otherwise functional people into moral idiots?

theophrastus

"were their minds broken before they embraced the far left, did their emotional shortcomings draw them to that worldview? Or did prolonged exposure to Marxoid politics turn otherwise functional people into moral idiots?"

Either, depending on the individual. Some embrace leftism as a form of therapy for their alienation. Others are corrupted by Marxoid theory and assumptions.

Steve 2

On a lighter note, I did enjoy the media's "spot the white guy" competition during the London riots, as they strove to pick out melanin-deficit no-gooders in order to put a more politically correct complexion on the disturbances.

It was like "Where's Wally", but with arson.

Lenin asked "Who, whom?". According to the British media, it was, errr... "youths". And the recent convictions in Rochdale were brought against, umm... "older men". Ahem.

Steve 2

Curses on autocorrect. "Deficit" should be "deficient".

David

It was one of those events where you really couldn’t miss the desperate, quite ludicrous attempts to bolt on a completely bogus narrative. And the BBC, our utterly impartial state broadcaster, was still referring to habitual criminals as “protestors” days after it was clear what was happening. Unless, that is, the thugs and thieves, almost all of whom had numerous previous convictions, were politically upset by the existence of small ethnic restaurants and the evil conglomerate Mothercare.

I heard one BBC reporter asking a besieged resident, “Is this about the cuts? It’s about the cuts, isn’t it?” When the resident looked puzzled and disagreed, the disappointment was audible. Those actually doing the thieving offered more revealing explanations. As one pair of female looters put it during an interview while drinking stolen wine: “Chucking bottles, breaking into stuff, it was madness… good though. Good fun. Free alcohol.” After quite a bit of prompting, the looters finally added a political dimension, of a sort: “It’s the government’s fault. I dunno… the Conservatives… yeah, whatever, whoever it is. We’re showing the police we can do what we want.”

In a Newsnight interview Labour’s deputy leader Harriet Harman echoed the Guardian’s Polly Toynbee and wanted us to believe that the beatings and muggings were due to cuts in the Educational Maintenance Allowance and the underfunding of social workers. This claim became slightly funnier when two of the looters were revealed as a teacher and a youth social worker – who, like many of their fellow rioters, were in no meaningful sense “deprived” or “excluded,” just opportunist and leftwing. And with the same self-justifying sense of entitlement as the pissed-up moron looters.

[ Edited. ]

svh

“Nicking trainers,” we were told, is “a political statement.”

It's still funny.

David

It’s still funny.

Given that even the Guardian acknowledged that much of the looting had been co-ordinated using BBM, smartphones and Twitter, the idea of the perpetrators as “desperate” shoeless paupers doesn’t quite convince: “Everyone from all sides of London meet up at the heart of London (central) OXFORD CIRCUS!!, Bare SHOPS are gonna get smashed up so come get some (free stuff!!!)”

I think Mr Eugenides summed it up quite well.

theophrastus

"Given...the looting had been co-ordinated using BBM, smartphones and Twitter, the idea of the perpetrators as “desperate” shoeless paupers doesn’t quite convince..."

Ah! But the Joseph Rowntree Trusts would argue that anyone who cannot afford a smartphone, trainers, a couple of weeks "away" a year, a large flat screen tv and a gallery of hideous and expensive tattoos is "deprived" - relatively, of course. I mean, if only we'd had the "living wage", the riots would never have occurred.

witwoud

I knew the 2011 riots had arrived in my neighbourhood when, at midnight, a number of BMWs and SUVs parked in my street and their occupants jumped out and ran down to Currys, returning shortly with large cardboard boxes. I feel sickened and ashamed to belong to a society that drives people to such acts of desperation.

sk60

It does capture something of her… psychological peculiarities.

There's a lot of it about...

"I can't quite believe that I've just sat through ten minutes of BBC television in which British journalists Owen Jones and Zoe Williams have defended Karl Marx as the prophet of the End of Capitalism. Unbelievable because I had thought Marxism was over with the fall of the Berlin Wall – when we discovered that socialism was one part bloodshed, one part farce. But unbelievable also because you'd have to be a pretty lacking in moral sensitivity to defend a thinker whose work sent millions of people to an early grave."

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/timstanley/100244023/the-left-is-trying-to-rehabilitate-karl-marx-lets-remind-them-of-the-millions-who-died-in-his-name/

Joan

Laurie wasn’t alone of course. The Marxoid philosopher and fellow Guardian contributor Nina Power did the same, as did the post-colonial studies lecturer Priyamvada Gopal. And as did China Miéville,

These four idiots should publish their homes addresses so those 'victim' looters can come round one night and nick their stuff too. Let's see them put their money where their mouths are.

David

These four idiots should publish their home addresses so those ‘victim’ looters can come round one night and nick their stuff too.

Ah, but Laurie, like many of her peers, has those convenient non-reciprocal principles. Which is why, for instance, she champions window-smashing and says, “I have no problem with principled, thought-through political violence,” then squeals with indignation when the police resist such violence, say, by arresting the people doing it. And presumably Laurie would have no objection to strangers slapping her about and destroying her belongings, provided their predation was sufficiently rationalised and enthusiastic.

Jonathan

@sk60

The comments over at the Telegraph are pretty scary. It seems plenty of leftists are willing to excuse any number of deaths by shooting, beating, torture and starvation in the name of Marxism/ Communism/ Socialism, they even try to pin the blame for Pol Pots murderous regime on the hated 'Maggie Thatcher'.

David

These four idiots should publish their home addresses so those ‘victim’ looters can come round one night and nick their stuff too.

In my experience, people on the left tend to be quite naïve about crime, its causes and how to deal with it. And the further left you go, the more foolish and unhinged those attitudes are. It doesn’t seem to occur to such people that their assumptions and rationalisations are often mimicked by habitual criminals and then used as excuses. If you keep telling people that their robbing, resentment and vandalism are a result of deprivation and social inequity, and therefore to be expected, this sends a message – one that will either be internalised or exploited cynically. It’s a phenomenon that Theodore Dalrymple has illustrated many times in his books and articles. And as Dalrymple said regarding China Miéville:

This is the statement of a typical intellectual whose indifference to the actual lives of the urban poor masquerades as compassion for them. Miéville fails to mention that most of the sentences handed down were for people with criminal records, no doubt in many cases long ones. The real judicial cruelty - not to the criminals but to their victims - was the leniency before the riots that gave the rioters a hitherto justified sense of impunity… Leniency toward criminals is not a form of sympathy for the poor, but a failure to take either their lives or their property seriously. To talk of “panicked reaction” in these circumstances [the jail sentences following the riots] is a form of moral exhibitionism. He is showing off in front of his peers.

But that’s what he does. It’s what Laurie does all the time. It’s all about display and self-admiration. Their counterfactual blatherings weren’t motivated by a concern for the poor, and certainly not for the victims of the violence they so eagerly excused. When push came to shove, these elevated leftists took the side of the thugs and predators. The ones who burned down small businesses, punched fire-fighters and left thousands of people cowering in their homes.

How’s that for moral high ground?

vote UKIP: get Miliband!

"Laurie Penny in a nutshell."

With the emphasis on 'nut'?

Or on 'shell', which echoes the superficiality of her 'thought'?

I cannot decide...

Hal

I knew the 2011 riots had arrived in my neighbourhood when, at midnight, a number of BMWs and SUVs parked in my street and their occupants jumped out and ran down to Currys, returning shortly with large cardboard boxes. I feel sickened and ashamed to belong to a society that drives people to such acts of desperation.

And Google "pauline pearce england riots" for a much more direct . . . assessment . . . of the occurrences.

. . . come to think of it, having la Penny attempt to debate Pierce would be rather droll . . . presumably once Penny were so cornered.

Hal

These four idiots should publish their home addresses so those ‘victim’ looters can come round one night and nick their stuff too.

Ah, but Laurie, like many of her peers, has those convenient non-reciprocal principles.

Hmmm. Y'mean you're finding the following?

http://usmilitary.about.com/od/militaryhumor/a/britoer.htm

XRay

I'd pay good money to see 'lil Miss Penny show up here at David's place to defend her beliefs. Not that she would learn anything, mind. Perhaps offer a guest post, David, with the stipulation she has to stick round for comments.

sackcloth and ashes

'Hmmm. Y'mean you're finding the following?'

My personal favourite (not here) concerns an RN padre. 'This man uses my ship to carry him from port to port, and my officers to carry him from bar to brothel'.

Talking of assorted fuckwittery, I just had to share this one with you all:

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/letters/letters-look-again-at-nationalised-energy-8921361.html?origin=internalSearch

'Poppy spooks

Just like Dr Buckingham (letter, 1 November), who wrote about his experience after ordering white poppies from the Stop the War Coalition, I too sensed a presence breathing down my neck. I didn’t actually complete the purchase (of one poppy) before the phone rang from Lloyds fraud investigations wanting me to confirm recent transactions. At the time I thought this must be a coincidence, because I have had fraudulent charges on a debit card. But now? Very creepy and infuriating.

Dianne Frank, Oxford'

Yes, Dianne. Because, you see, there is something inherently sinister about Lloyds phoning you after a case of ID theft just to check that your most recent purchases were legit, and were not due to someone stealing your cash. And of course Lloyds, along with GCHQ and MI5, are rigorously monitoring the entire web to spot anyone who might be buying a white poppy, and sticking it to the man.

You see, Dianne. Remembrance Day is not about commemorating the war dead, or raising funds for the Royal British Legion to help veterans and bereaved relatives of dead service personnel. It really is all about you.

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