Wednesday, 4 December 2013


There are some things that you simply cannot let pass.

A story very recently in the news is that of a woman, and Italian national resident in Italy who came to England on a training course organised by her employer.

The lady suffers from bipolar disorder, and had neglected to take her medication for a few days. Whilst in her hotel room, she became distressed when she couldn't find her children's passports . She had a panic attack during which she called the police and then her mother.

She was on the telephone to her mother when the police arrived at her room; she handed the telephone to them and her mother told the police about her illness and her medication. The police told her mother that they were taking her to the hospital to make sure that the unborn baby was in good health.

The foetus was not their concern however; when they arrived at the hospital she found herself in a psychiatric unit. When she asked to return to her hotel she was told that she could not; when she tried to leave she was strapped to the gurney and sedated. She was then sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

Two weeks later, still in the psychiatric unit, she was denied breakfast without explanation. Again she was sedated, and awoke to find herself in hospital, having been given a cesarean without her knowledge or consent.

It transpired that Essex Social Services had obtained a High Court order from Sir Justice Mostyn for the c-section.  The lawyers appointed to her by Essex County Council failed to represent her, and the court was a Protection Court, whose proceedings are closed to the public.

Denied access to her child, she was subsequently put on a flight back to Italy. When her family, and her ex-husband (now living in the US) requested that the child be given to them, social services refused. At a hearing in the UK, the lady was told that although she was back on her medication and seemed much better and well-adjusted, the judge did not feel confident that she would not neglect her medication again and so would not allow her to have the child.

The child, now fifteen months old, is to be put up for adoption in the UK.

This is monstrous.

That any public body should be granted the authority to behave in this manner is unforgivable. That there are closed, secret courts that can and will consent to - and actively encourage - this signals only that the rule of law is utterly corrupt.

That an organisation - a public body no less! - purportedly mandated to protect people should cut the child from a woman's belly that they might take it from her is befitting only of the atrocious excesses of Nazi Germany.

Bad enough were they to take someone's child in this manner - and they frequently do so, whilst at the same time utterly failing to protect children who genuinely are in danger - but first to cut it from her very womb! 

'High-handed' does not even begin to describe the attitude and behaviour of Essex County Council, Essex Social Services or Sir Justice (and how hollow that title sounds) Mostyn.

A precedent has been set. Draw the lesson from this.

Your organs belong to the state when you die; in July of this year I posted on this blog that it would be a short step to the state helping themselves to your organs whilst you are still alive. It had already come to pass.

You no longer have autonomy over your own flesh. The state will, with the full consent of the law, cut into you to take what it wants. There are judges sufficiently corrupt and surgeons sufficiently psychopathic that there will be no obstacle to their achieving this aim.

The law does not embody nor ensure justice; it belongs entirely to the state and exists only to enable those in authority to do as they wish. It is merely the tool by which they give spurious justification to even the most egregious of their actions.

You are not free. You are a slave of the state and will be used as such. You are disposable. 

The United Kingdom Bill of Rights of 1789, long ignored, has been consigned to history. As far as those in power are concerned, it no longer applies.

The United Kingdom is no longer a constitutional monarchy, and a parliamentary democracy only in that an election will substitute one cage of posturing apes for another. Those with the real power are answerable to no electorate, to no vote, and the courts are their poodle. 

To the people of Britain I say this: you have too long allowed your politicians to bribe you with your own money. You have too long ignored the batteries of new legislation to pass unremarked and unexamined. You have too long allowed demagogues to spread fear among you, and take from you your liberty in exchange for the promise of security. You have too long allowed your masters to tell you that you fight external enemies, as you have been your masters' enemy all along. You have too long sold your souls in a thousand petty shares; mortgaged your freedom and your integrity for a thousand worthless promises.

You have embraced leviathan. You have fed it and succoured it and watched it grow. 

And now, unthinking, it shall devour you.

Friday, 29 November 2013

What's in a Name?

I've noticed something over the past few years. Names, labels, have changed their meaning. I know that this happens normally, as a language evolves, but this is something quite different.

There used to be people who called themselves communists. Not many people do, now, although there are quite a few who call themselves socialists but seem to espouse ideals that could readily be described as being communist. 

Similarly, people who would once have called themselves socialists as often as not consider themselves to be liberal. It's interesting. Especially when we look at what 'liberal' has come to mean for so many. 

I have had conversations, discussions and arguments with modern liberals. What a tolerant and liberal bunch they are! How accepting of everyone, how ready to stand up for people they are. And how ready they are to listen to the views of others. 

They do not discriminate against anyone on the basis of sex - unless you're male. They do discriminate on the basis of the - unless you are white. They do not discriminate on the basis of religion - unless you are Christian. They do not discriminate on the basis of wealth - unless you are not poor. They do not discriminate on the basis of sexuality - unless you are heterosexual (and male). They will listen to your opinion - unless you disagree with them. 

And it is particularly this last point that is of interest.

Increasingly, we are finding that those who describe themselves as 'liberal' are less and less tolerant of dissent.  If one dares to gainsay a feminist, one is described as a misogynist.  Make the point that - in the UK, at least - black boys have fallen way behind in school, and you're labelled a racist.  Point out that Islamist terrorism is connected to Islam, and you're labelled an Islamophobe.  And so it goes.

Try going on the Guardian website (for example) and commenting on an article in a vain contrary to that of the majority and see what happens.  Go on - try it.  A tirade of abuse will come your way, be sure of it.  And the abuse will be out of all proportion to whatever comment you may have made - believe me when I say that I speak from experience.  The opprobrium will come flying at you propelled by a shocking degree of vitriol and vehemence.

More and more we see the 'liberal' demanding increased censorship, and distortions of the truth where the truth does not fit the political (i.e. ideological) zeitgeist.  Even students, once considered radical in their opinions and beliefs, are demanding ever more censorship and thought-policing; to a degree reminiscent of countries that are decidedly not liberal, or of certain European regimes of the twentieth century.

Most galling (and worrying) is the degree of self-censorship that is now expected of everyone - politicians most of all, as Rod Liddle points out rather well.  I even find that I do it myself from time to time; and given the level of grief one can get for expressing opinions, I don't beat myself up too badly about it.  But I do also try to make a point of saying just what I mean wherever and whenever possible - and having the argument to back up my opinions.  Much good it does, though, on occasion.

You see, many who now consider themselves to be liberal favour censorship - both in the press and in everyday speech.  They support the suppression of ideas that they find objectionable.  Now, I am not saying that I don't find some of those same ideas repellent, but here is the difference - I would not ever try to prevent anyone from holding those ideas or expressing them.  Acting on them, certainly - but expressing them, no.

Many who now consider themselves to be liberal favour defining certain crimes as 'hate crimes' -  a ludicrous definition by any reckoning, as such crimes are never committed out of love.  If a person is physically attacked because of their race, then the fact that they were attacked should be sufficient under the law for a suitable punishment of the attacker.  The fact that the attack was motivated by race in the mind of the perpetrator is neither here nor there; an unprovoked attack took place, and so mens rea is established.  But not to the liberal; no, to him (or her, lest we offend anyone) the racism involved makes it all so much worse.  It's not the violence he objects to - it's the opinion behind it.

So, what do we call our New Liberal?  What do we call someone who believes in censorship, in ideology trumping reality, in the suppression of 'unfavourable' ideas, in the punishment of those who hold those ideas - and in the meting out of violence to those with whom they disagree?  I'd be more inclined to use one of their favourite labels that they apply to others with merry abandon - fascist.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

On Science and Postnormalism

In my opinion, writing is mankind's greatest achievement.  The ability to write things down, to record our thoughts and researches for future generations to read and learn from is a thing of wondrous beauty.  It has enabled the arts and sciences, civilisation and humanity itself to reach pinnacles otherwise impossible to reach.  Bernard of Chartres was correct when he likened us to dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants.

If writing is mankind's greatest achievement, then, science is his greatest endeavour.  We have, through millennia of research, divined the existence of the atom, its structure and how its power may be harnessed; we have bottled lightning, walked upon the face of the moon, cured smallpox and myriad other ills, discovered how to cure the body by cutting into it, built machines that can carry great loads or travel across oceans and skies, found methods of cleaning water to make it safe to drink and are on our way to discovering the deepest wonders of the universe.  Each of us has benefited from this; not only can we expect to live longer than our forebears, but we enjoy a life of such luxury and plenty that previous generations could not imagine.  We can can travel in flying machines to all corners of the globe, and hold a conversation with someone on another continent as clearly and as easily as if they were in the next room.

How have we done this?  By century upon century if trial and error.  By someone noticing something and saying "That's funny..." and then having the curiosity and patience to find out why it was funny and what was going on.  By men and women of great intellect spending many patient years trying things out, making mistakes and achieving great results.  By these people formulating theories about why things happen the way they do, and when those theories are disproved, coming up with new theories.  An endless process of continuous revision, improvement, updating and above all testing, proving and disproving.

Scientific theories are developed that explain why things work the way they do, and - most importantly - make predictions about the results of experiments and phenomena before they occur, allowing the theory to be tested.  Of course, any theory must be falsifiable to be called a theory; you can prove it wrong if it is wrong - but of course, you cannot prove it right.  The closest you can come to that is to fail to prove it wrong.  And of course, before any scientific paper is published, it is subject to peer review - a process by which all other scientists working in the same field review the research, its methodology and findings, and even attempt to replicate those findings.  Damned fine icing on the cake, this last; stops time, money, resources and effort being wasted on blind alleys.

What a wonder and a glory is science!  Bernard was indeed right: nanos gigantum humeris insidentes.

But there is a cancer eating away at the heart of the endeavour.  There are those that seek to invert its principles.  There are dwarfs who wish to kill the giants.

Two such dwarfs go by the names of Silvio Funtowicz and Jerome Ravetz - long may their names be reviled.  What these poisonous homunculi thought up was a concept they called 'Postnormal science'.  The essence of this was that for cases where "facts are uncertain, values in dispute, stakes high and decisions urgent", they suggest that there must be an "extended peer community" consisting of all those affected by an issue who are prepared to enter into dialogue on it.  Regardless if those entering the dialogue know anything about the subject - they must be included within the peer review process.

Clearly, this makes no sense.  How can anyone who is not a peer - i.e. not a scientist operating in the same field of research - possibly able to provide meaningful insight?  I mean, could you have anything sensible to say on, for example, the altered expression of sialylated glycoproteins in breast cancer using hydrazide chemistry?  I know I couldn't.  Couldn't even tell you what it means.  But our dwarfs would claim that anyone with breast tissue - which is all of us - should be included within the peer review process, and our opinions should count equally as much as those who are experts in the field.


Now, the excrescence of Postnormalism was originally defecated onto the protesting face of science in regard to climate change. I shall not speak of this subject here - largely because I am ignorant of the science involved, but also because it is such an enormous subject that it is beyond the scope of this blog to comment upon.  The thought was that the consequences of man-made runaway climate change would be so catastrophic if true, that it would be best to corrupt the science behind any research to always show the result that it was true. To subjugate science to a political aim, in other words.  Lysenkoism at its very best.

This has spread to claiming that, when there is no proof either way, a 'consensus' of opinion is all that is required.  Let me reiterate that: under postnormal science, a scientific theory does not have to make predictions that are accurate, it does not have to disprove any alternative theories, it does not even have to be falsifiable (and therefore does not even need to be a theory).  All that need happen is that enough people - preferably scientists, but not necessarily, and not necessarily operating in the same field - have to say that they think the 'theory' is right (or wrong) and Presto Changeo!  The science is in, let there be no more debate.

And it is not just climate change that has seen this happen.  The theory of evolution is now open to challenge by those who like the idea of intelligent design.  The origins of the universe likewise.  In every field, the voluble, the ignorant and the obnoxious demand to have their voices heard, and for their ignorance to be assigned equal weight as another's knowledge.

It has reached the point that the website of Popular Science has even had to close all comments to all further articles. The ignorant and the foolish are so keen to spread their postmodern nihilism, to shit their foolish uninformed opinions into the ears of others, that the drawbridges are having to be drawn up.  Should this continue, science will become once again the preserve of the few, understood and mistrusted by the many who will prefer superstition and guesswork to reason and empirical evidence.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the age of the Endarkenment.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

A Brief Note on Racism

Just lately I have heard the words 'racism is power combined with prejudice', although the word 'privilege' is sometimes used in place of 'power'.  Often, it is expressed thus:


as though making it look like an equation will somehow make it more convincing.  Certainly, it seems to be repeated like a mantra, as though many repetitions will turn a trite soundbite into a truism.

There is, of course, one problem with this little phrase:  it's a load of old bollocks.  Let me explain why.

I could invoke the dictionary definitions of racism at this point, which define it as being discrimination against a person on the basis of their race.  I'm not going to do that, though, as it is often the sign of a weak argument, not to mention being a logical fallacy of the argumentum ad verecundiam sort. No, no.  I shall leave such floundering to those that can manage no better.

Let us instead take a look at the thinking behind this sentence.

The idea is that to be racist, one must be in a position of power over the one against whom one is discriminating.  I have actually seen the belief expressed that it is 'impossible for black people to be racist', although this has had to be hastily amended to 'impossible for black people to be racist against white people', and then to 'impossible for black people to be racist against white people in Western countries' when it is pointed out who wields the power in countries such as Zimbabwe and South Africa.

But this whole idea, this way of thinking, is utterly flawed.  Let us presume that we are talking about the UK.  If a white person espouses opinions to the effect that all people who are not white are inferior and should be treated as such, that white person would be called racist, and their ideals held to be vile and execrable.

That's fine - I can get right behind that.

But if a black, Asian, etc person were to say the same thing about white people, that apparently would be fine and dandy.  Because white people, you see, have the power.  All of them, without exception. Yes.

You can see where the wheels are starting to come off this argument already, can't you?  If all white people are in a position of power, why are so many of them poor and disregarded by successive governments?

Well, now we must look at just what we mean by 'power'.  Being the majority, perhaps?  No, that won't work - no-one would have said that black South Africans under Apartheid had power, despite being the majority by a very long way.

Does it mean being in government?  Well it could; again, looking at South Africa under Apartheid, the government was drawn pretty much exclusively from the white population.  By definition, then, black South Africans now all have power.  All of them.  Even those that live in the townships and can barely scratch a living.

Seems pretty flimsy to me.

Is it perhaps a combination of the two?  Being of the demographic that forms the majority and forms most or all of the government?  It might do. It might well do.  But that's the norm in most countries, isn't it - that the indigenous population forms its own government?  I thought that this was a good thing?  Power to the people and all that.

Perhaps 'power' means being socially dominant?  Isn't that the same thing as being the majority?  Cultural dominance - same thing again.  Oh dear.  We have attempted to grasp what power means in this context, and it's like trying to grasp smoke.  It evaporates like faerie gold at sunrise.

Maybe it means not being subject to the same laws as other demographics within the overall population?  Yes, that might be it!  It would fit the word 'privilege' well too.  I think that we are onto something here.  A person who is part of a group, race or sub-culture - within a larger population - that is accorded greater rights and less responsibility than everyone else.  A group that is not required to observe certain laws that nevertheless pertain to the rest of the population.  A group that cannot be called racist or be prosecuted for racism when they actively discriminate against other races in that population?

Sounds like power to me.  The kind of power that a man on the street might have.

So, if a member of one race can discriminate against people of another race and not face censure of any sort, that person can be said to have power.  Which combined with their prejudice, makes them racist.

So if we examine the original equation-like argument above:

If you say that black people cannot be racist against white people, you are saying that black (or insert any non-caucasian race here) people are exempted from the laws, mores and manners of society with regard to discrimination.  Which means that black people have power.  Which, if one them exhibited prejudice, would by your very own argument make him racist.

If, on the other hand, you say that only white people can be racist, you are saying that they cannot escape censure for discrimination, which would mean that they lacked power.  Which would mean that they were not being racist.  Which would mean that they could not be accused of any wrongdoing.  Which would mean that they had power.  Oh dear.  What a very circular argument.

All of which is to say - the argument that racism equals power plus prejudice is bullshit.  Racism really is discriminating against people on the basis of their race.  Their race, mind - not religion (but that's a subject for another time).  Just that.  Doesn't matter what the make-up of the population is, if you discriminate against someone solely on the basis of their race, you're a racist.

Oh, before we go, two other things.

Firstly, isn't it racist to refer to black people as though they were a single homogeneous race?  You know, given that only 100,000 people originally left Africa to form the population of the rest of the world, and everybody else stayed in Africa.  Which is why there is far greater genetic diversity within Africa than outside it, and that there is therefore no such thing as 'the black race'.  There are a lot of ethnically and culturally diverse peoples in Africa - lumping them all in together is orientalism, and arguably racist.

Secondly, please do bear in mind also that, if you wish to say that any ethnic minority or minorities within a country cannot ever be considered racist; if those minorities should be better represented in government to a degree disproportionate to their size within the general population; if you wish to grant any those minority groups greater power and control over the country - you are arguing in favour of Apartheid in South Africa. Doesn't matter if you are talking about the UK - you are saying that the principles of Apartheid are sound.

It also means that if you claim that 'black people can't be racist' - you are arguing in favour of Apartheid.  Either that, or you are saying that Apartheid wasn't racist.

Just saying.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

In absentia Dei, Ratione.

So I've just had an entertaining little debate on the joy that is twatter on the subject of religion, with a Christian and a Muslim on the opposite side. And it got me thinking.

It's not uncommon for atheists to trot out the argument that wars and murders have been carried out in the name of religion. Now, this is not a good reason to be an atheist.  The lack of evidence for god, that is a reason to be an atheist. The fact that of all the explanations for the existence of the universe, "God did it" is the least feasible - that's a good reason not to believe in god. But the shitty stuff done in His name - sorry, no. That's not a good reason. It's just sulking.

The crux of this argument was that the religious sorts were claiming that it was unfair to blame a religion for the nastier things done in its name. When it was pointed out by others (not me) that war and murder on religious grounds has been commonplace, and that no such thing has been done in the name of atheism, they began to flounder. The Muslim dropped out of the conversation, after asserting that Soviet purges were carried out for the purposes of spreading atheism, but the Christian chappy struggled on for a bit. 

His final point was that if nothing bad has been done in the name of atheism, nothing good had been done in its name either.

And there, right there, we find the fundamental misunderstanding of the religious mind. Because, you see, many religious people view atheism as a subsitute for religion. And it's not. It is the absence of religion.

Let's say you are a Christian.  It's feasible that you would go out and do certain things - good or bad, laudable or execrable - in the name of Christianity.  But you wouldn't go out and do things in the name of not being a Muslim, of not being a Hindu.

So why then would an atheist do anything in the name of not believing in god?

De Profundis

I don’t like what’s happening these days.

We seem to be moving towards some kind of socialist state, yet a quick sift through Twitter and the like seems to indicate that the lefties believe this to be some kind of Tory/right wing move.

New laws are passed with a monotonous regularity that consolidate ever more power into the hands of the state.  The government seeks greater and greater influence over our everyday lives, greater powers to watch us and intercept our communications, and to dictate the mores and manners of society.  Offence is now given, not taken, under law and the use of rude words online can result in arrest.

We are seeing the EU become ever more powerful as the sovereignty of the member states is eroded by the very politicians who are meant to protect it, and all the while the will of the electorate is willfully and deliberately ignored. Power is being passed into the hands of unelected bureaucrats and we are told that this is a ‘good thing’.

Meanwhile, war crimes are committed by our leaders and anyone who speaks of them is imprisoned. Green energy policies are introduced that will put energy prices up so high that they will soon be unaffordable. Gas burning power stations are being shut down while hippies protest against the idea (let alone the practice) of fracking for gas that we begin to lack the stations to burn, whilst a network of inefficient windmills are subsidised and provisioned with diesel generators as back up that will produce energy at a cost six times as much as that of the power stations being closed down.

We are told that there is the threat of Islamic terrorism, largely a result of the aforementioned war crimes, but we are approaching a state of dhimmitude at home because the authorities don’t want to upset Muslims and refuse to deport known terrorists.

The news is censored and only certain crimes are reported, and there is bias in what are supposed to be trusted and impartial outlets.  Even well-known individuals working for those outlets find themselves persona non grata if they express views or opinions that have not been officially sanctioned by the political commissars so firmly entrenched within the broadcasting corporations.

Our freedoms are being increasingly curtailed to ostensibly protect us from the very terrorists created by our government, terrorists who are then pandered and fawned to by the government. Access to the Internet and impartial information is being restricted in ways that were supposed to be impossible – the very reason for the initial creation of the Internet in the first place. Anyone caught telling you what the government is doing goes to jail for a very long time. Our every word is monitored, recorded and watched, our associations and friendships analysed and sifted.

And we are lied to. Lied to by the media, and by governments who lie so casually and so transparently that they must know we are not fooled. And all they do is lie about lying.

Can someone please answer me – what is happening and why?

This post was first published at kneejerk.

Monday, 22 July 2013

The Problem with Capitalism

Now folks, before we get started, I'm going to come right out and say it:  I am a capitalist.  I like capitalism.  Capitalism is a force for good in the world.

Of course, it doesn't currently have that reputation, and we'll come to that.  There are reasons - good reasons - for it.

See, now, a lot of people out there feel that capitalism is to blame for the world's woes.  They imagine that if the world were run on fairer principles - socialism being the main contender - then people would have a far better lot in life.

I disagree; socialism, by despising wealth, seeks not to create wealth but to destroy it.  Sure, it'd put everyone on an even footing - we'd all be in the most abject form of poverty.  Name a single Eastern Bloc country that fared well under socialism.  China has only started to thrive as its ruling elite embraced capitalism, albeit to a controlled extent.  And if Russia has suffered under capitalism (and nowhere near as much as it suffered under communism) then it is because they have the worst sort of nepotistic crony-capitalism.

But all of this is an argument for another day.  What I'd like to concentrate on here is why capitalism has such a bad rap here in the West, where we enjoy a far higher standard of living as a result of...well, it's not due to socialism.

Anyway - I read an article today that summed much of it up.  In brief, the article points out - quite rightly - that modern economics is based on the idea that the sole purpose of any business (and here they are referring to publicly floated companies, but the principles seem to be applied by most companies of every sort) is to maximise short-term profit.

Just that.  Short-term profit.  To take value from the customer and give it to the shareholder.  (I had a similar argument with one of my contemporaries during my university days, and it was like beating my head against the wall).  Nevermind that the customer might be so royally pissed off that he never buys from you again and tells everyone he knows to avoid you.  As long as you get that short-term profit, you're golden.  That these short-term profits are bad profits never once enters the equation.

This way of thinking is dinned into economics and business students all over the western world.  And the problem it creates is that that is how people see companies under capitalism - existing solely for short-term profit, with no morality or ethics applied.  It also means that, by focusing only on short-term profits, your long-term profitability is screwed.

Some people have realised this, and apply a more long-term view to their activities, with the result that, by creating a more touchy-feely aspect to their business, they (hope to, at least) increase their long-term profitability by not only winning new customers but also - and vitally - by retaining their old customers.  Sound business sense, of course - but clearly not practised anything like widely enough.

Steve Denning over at Forbes has expressed it far better than I can, so I shall wind up my spiel here.  I shall just leave you with a quote from Fred Reicheld, quoted in the linked article:

”Whenever a customer feels misled, mistreated, ignored or coerced, then profits from that customer are bad. Bad profits come from unfair or misleading pricing. Bad profits arise when companies save money by delivering a lousy customer experience. Bad profits are about extracting value from customers, not creating value. When sales reps push overpriced or inappropriate products onto trusting customers, the reps are generating bad profits. When complex pricing schemes dupe customers into paying more than necessary to meet their needs, those pricing schemes are contributing to bad profits.”

Hurrah for common sense.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

The NHS Organ Grab

What are the three largest employers in the world?

Well, there is the army of the People's Republic of China.  It serves a country that holds vast territory, has extensive borders and a population of a billion people.

Then there is the Indian National Railway.  Public transportation and infrastructure for a country that holds vast territory and has a population of a billion people.

Then in third place there is the NHS.  It looks after the health - supposedly - of a medium sized island nation with a population of around 62.7 million people at the time of writing.

There's something wrong with this picture, isn't there?

Don't get me wrong.  For all of my libertarian principles, I quite like the NHS.  Not for what it is, but for what it could be.

I have had to make use of their services on occasion.  I don't mind paying taxes for an efficient healthcare system that is free of charge at point of use.  The trouble is that the NHS is not efficient; if the money spent on management were instead to be spent on front line staff and material, then it could be much better than it is.

But what makes things worse is that politics has crept into our national healthcare provider, as well as complaisance.

Smokers face the greatest discrimination, followed by the obese.  If you are in either - or both - of these groups, then the NHS will look down its nose at you.  They may even refuse to treat you - and it won't be long before they refuse to treat any illness caused by smoking.  Smoker?  Need new lungs?  Forget it.

And this is part of what bothers me about the proposal to create a system whereby, upon your death, your organs will be harvested unless you have specifically opted-out of the scheme.

ya bastards
Keep the noise down, sir.  You're distracting the surgeon.
I appreciate that there is a shortage of donors.  I also appreciate that those who are vocal in their opposition will make sure that they opt-out.  I understand - I really do.

Things is, there are four very good reasons why I don't like this in the slightest.

Firstly, as I have said, if you are a smoker, there is a good chance that you will be turned down as an organ recipient.  As an organ donor, however, you will be acceptable;  Professor James Neuberger, associate medical director at NHS Blood and Organ Transplant has said on record that "...organs from people who smoked and drank regularly could also still be used despite their lifestyles."

So we could be faced with a system in which many of us could be considered fit to donate but not fit to receive.  Regardless of the fact that the annual tax revenue on tobacco is several times the annual NHS budget, your lifestyle choice makes you a second class citizen.

Secondly, as the linked article states in the headline, those who do not opt out will get preferential treatment. Quelle surprise, there, but it's the fundamental lack of respect for the wishes of those concerned that bothers me.

So, if your lifestyle is less than healthy, we'll take but we won't give.  And if you opt-out of giving, you are less likely to receive.

Thirdly, I have little confidence that those who opt-out will have their wishes respected.  Just what mechanism will be in place to ensure that, when a patient dies (especially if it's in A&E following an accident) that they won't automatically be turned into Soylent Green have their organs removed?  Wouldn't be the first time.

Finally, I really do not like the precedent it sets.  If your body is the property of the state when you die, then it doesn't take much for that to be extended to the state owning your body whilst you are alive.  And if that seems far-fetched, consider Stalinist Russia, modern day China, or even Britain at the beginning of the Twentieth Century; how many men were conscripted and sent to be shot, shelled and gassed in the trenches of the First World War?

It is hideously ironic that many people would embrace this sort of statist vassaldom as being progess.

Harvested from Anonymong.  Well, he didn't opt-out, did he?

Monday, 8 July 2013

'The Patriarchy' and Progressivist Ideology

Well, I heard something interesting the other day that got me thinking.  A rare event, admittedly, but it does happen.  These thoughts are not original, but they have, at least, occurred to me.

Now, the world is in many ways a sorry place, and people have been trying for millenia - with moderate success - to improve it.  In this day and age, people are determined to force change and improvement upon the world and its peoples, and drag it kicking and screaming into the twenty-first century.

Trouble is, many of their well-intentioned efforts are either doomed to failure or are actively counter-productive.  This is nearly always due to an abject failure to analyse the root causes of a problem, instead focusing upon the superficial effects.  This in turn is frequently the result of adherence to a progressivist ideology that, by its very nature, cannot recognise those root causes as to do so would completely negate the fundamental beliefs of that ideology. Allow me to give an example, and a damnably poisonous one at that: Patriarchy Theory.

Patriarchy Theory insists that the world is ruled by men, and that women are forced to occupy a subordinate role in all matters.  And numerous examples can be cited for this - let us examine a couple of these:

Women Forbidden to Work

In a number of countries and cultures, women stay at home while the men go out to work and earn a living.  Times being what they are, many women also wish to go out to work, but in some countries - Afghanistan, for example - to do so is all but forbidden, and if a woman is married, her husband may refuse to permit it.

By what right does he permit or otherwise her going to work?  Patriarchy!  Men putting women down and holding them back, doubtless feeling threatened and afraid that they will be shown up as useless incompetent fools.  Bloody Patriarchy!

...except that might not be the story.  Or not the whole of it, certainly.

In many societies, Islamic ones in particular, a husband and father is the head of his household (outside of the home anyway - often once a couple walks into the house, his wife is in charge).  As such, there are obligations laid upon him which he must fulfill.  Foremost of these is that he must provide for his wife and children.

Now, let's say our husband and father is living in an Afghan town, and to house, feed and clothe himself, his wife and their - shall we say four? - children, he is working two jobs.  He has no choice in this - it is his duty as both a husband and father.

Of course, the obvious question is then 'why not allow his wife to go out to work, thus relieving him of the need for two jobs, so that he can work just one?'.

A good question.  A fine question.  The answer is so obvious - of course he should permit his wife to work. Duh!

Except, of course, that this isn't the West.  A man has a duty to support his family; to force his wife to work to provide for them as well is considered a sign that he is a failure as a husband, as a father and as a man.  It would be a badge of the deepest shame to him.

But this is a shallow reason.  There are others.

In most Islamic societies, if a woman is allowed by her husband to go out to work, it is not because he needs her to work, but because he doesn't need her to.  She may go and earn her own money - and it is just that.  Her money.  She is not required to share it with anyone and certainly not required to contribute to the family finances.  Indeed, to do so would be shameful.  Besides, it's her money.

Fine if you are clearly wealthy, if the kids have left home, all of that.  But in the situation of our chap working two jobs, he will be faced with the problem of the children - who will look after them when both parents are at work?  Friends, perhaps, or family - but the chances are it will cost money for them to be looked after.  And it won't be, cannot be, his wife who pays for it.  So he will have to work a third job simply to allow his wife to get a job of her own.

So clearly, the division of labour makes sense - one parent at work, the other taking care of the family at home.

Consider also, that when a country's economy is in poor shape, every job held by a woman for her own enrichment is taking a job from a man needing to provide for his family.

So we can begin to see why perhaps a husband might wish his wife to remain in the home, and why in some cultures the idea of women holding down jobs doesn't sit too well.

[ASIDE:  When did looking after your children become slavery?  When did going out to work for someone else become freedom?]

However, husbands forcing their wives to stay at home is far from the most egregious example of The Patriarchy (TM)...

Sex Selective Abortion

A nasty one, this.

There are a number of cultures around the world wherein it is considered far preferable to have a son than a daughter.  As a result, this has led to a situation in certain countries where many female foetuses are terminated, so that only sons shall be born.  This is widely known and rightly much deplored.

And why does this happen?  Patriarchy!  Who would want an inferior girl child when you could have a superior boy child?  It's The Patriarchy I tells ya!

...of course, there are underlying social and cultural causes for this.  One is the dowry system - once employed in Europe too - which involves the parents of the bride paying their prospective son-in-law a big lump of cash to take their daughter off their hands (this is not to be confused with Bride-Price, where the husband-to-be pays his prospective in-laws; which is applied varies between cultures).

Another cause is that, traditionally, a son will often remain in the parental home, and his wife will move in with him; between them, they will support his parents in their dotage.  A daughter, however, will leave the parental home to live with her husband and his parents, leaving her own folks all alone.  In more modern households, a son will move out, but will contribute a third of his income to his parents; a daughter is not so obliged.  Should she remain at home all her life, her parents will be culturally obliged to look after her.

So perhaps that dowry payment, hefty as it is, doesn't seem all that unreasonable - give the young man some money as he will henceforth have the obligation of her upkeep.

Of course, she could go out and work and send some of her earnings to her parents, if her husband is amenable, if cultural factors will allow it without apportioning shame - but when times are hard, she will again be taking a job that a man might need to support his family.

So - there are some reasons for sex-selective abortion.  They are not nice reasons, and I will not attempt to justify them - but they are the reasons, like it or not.

Alright Corvid - just what has this to do with Patriarchy Theory?

Patriarchy (TM) Theory

See, the problem with Patriarchy Theory and its ilk is that it is an ideology.  Almost a religion.  It has its own belief system, its own priestesses, its own canon, and it requires only absolute faith.  It cannot be disproved, but it can be asserted with impunity and with no evidence, because the only proof it requires is the belief in the mind of the adherent that it is so.  It is an article of faith.

It is also,quite simply, a conspiracy theory.  Tin-foil hat stuff. 

You see, those that believe in the Theory will cite it as both explanation and proof.  Why are women forced to stay at home in some cultures?  Because: Patriarchy.  Why are female foetuses aborted?  Because: Patriarchy.  Men hate women, and that's all there is to it.  Misogyny.  Patriarchy.  Phallocratic slavery.

Except, as we have - and only very briefly - discussed above, there are underlying reasons for these things.  And there are underlying reasons for those, in turn.

Appeals to Patriarchy Theory as an explanation willfully ignore the true facts of the matter; and if those facts, those underlying causes, are not addressed, then meaningful change cannot possibly be effected.  Why, then, does this theory ignore the true causes?

The answer is complex and very involved.  In part, it is because a neat, pat answer is so very attractive.  It is also because an examination of the true root causes is convoluted and difficult.  Another reason is that it becomes obvious that the blame cannot be laid solely at the feet of men.  Furthermore, because it claims that there is a conspiracy that is hidden, it cannot be disproved.

And, of course, ideologues are incapable of rational dissection of an issue.  That is why they are ideologues.

Were the actual explanation, the true reasons for the lack of change to be stated, the result, of course, would be a reduction in the emotional impact of how terrible these situations are.  A loss of enthusiasm amongst the faithful would invariably occur.  The shrill and strident cries for Equality (meaning equality of outcome, of course) would diminish, and the Cause would lose momentum.  And the ideologues would find themselves bereft of all meaning in their lives.

And the rabbit hole, as ever, goes deeper.

Cultural conditioning, combined with the prospect of additional duties and obligations, can make feminism an unappealing prospect for many women in some developing nations.  There is the danger that they would outright reject the feminist credo, thus rendering the movement irrelevant in those cultures.  Better, then, to avoid having the Cause explicitly rejected for specific reasons by failing to recognise or state those reasons.

And maybe, just maybe, the Cause doesn't want to hear the opposing view because the opposing view is right.

But wait - still deeper we go...

The ultimate truth as to why feminism - among many other progressivist causes and movements - frequently fail to truly examine the issues against which they campaign, why they fail to seek reasons as to why things have evolved the way they have, why they are doomed to failure - is because they want to fail.

Feminism, the Green movement, the Racial Equality movements - all employ a lot of people.  These are billion dollar industries.  A lot of people make a comfortable living, and a few get very rich indeed.  To achieve success would be to obviate the need for the organisations responsible.

A grievance industry without a grievance isn't an industry anymore.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Old Holborn

The last 48 hours have shown some of the fouler side of human nature.

A blogger, who uses the pseudonym of Old Holborn, made a handful of tweets that were, to be fair, a bit near-the-knuckle.  This is his habit; there are no sacred cows to OH, and everyone comes under fire at some point.

On this occasion, he got himself into a spat with a number of Liverpudlians over that city's lasting grievance over the Hillsborough tragedy.  As is becoming increasingly normal, a number of scousers called him a paedophile for doing so, to which he responded that the killers of James Bulger were themselves scousers.  Not particularly relevant, but then neither was the paedophile comment.  Rather ugly, but with such is what happens when you argue with people who are, shall we say, somewhat below the salt.

Things became rather heated, with several twitterers making threats against Old Holborn.  Some of them then managed to identify him, or at least obtain a name and address for him, which they then published online.

This is a vile thing to do; to publish the personal details of an individual in the full knowledge that there are people out there who are sufficiently unbalanced as to physically seek out the individual involved.

And seek him they did.  His employers were contacted; death threats were made to OH and his wife, and his children may also have been threatened.  Naturally enough, he has shut down his Twitter account and facebook account.

And he has been arrested. In a country where we are supposed to have free speech, a man has been arrested for saying something unpleasant.  You will notice, of course, that no mention is made in the linked article of the death threats received.  These are insignificant when compared to saying something tasteless.  And I very much doubt that those who have threatened Old Holborn, or those who published his details, will ever face any kind of charge.  I would be surprised if the police even bother to investigate the matter.

And this is the worst part of it all.  The police are involved now in a matter where someone has said something that wasn't very nice - but what business does the law have in becoming involved in this at all?  It doesn't. Why is the law siding with those that make death threats against their fellow citizens?

We have now reached a point of almost full inversion.

Making death threats is not seen as much of a crime. Saying something offensive, however, is.

The law involves itself in matters that no law should ever try to influence, yet divorces itself from those areas with which it should be concerned; it is a greater crime now to hurt another's feelings, but their body may be harmed - or at least threatened - with impunity.

Under the law, offence is now given, not taken.  Whether a crime has been committed is determined not by the thought or action of the perpetrator, but by the emotions of the alleged victim - or anyone else who cares to take offence.

This is only going to get worse.

If buttercups buzzed after the bee,
If boats were on land,
Churches on sea,
If ponies rode men,
And if grass ate the corn,
And if cats should be chased
Into holes by the mouse,
If the mammas sold their babies
To the Gypsies for half a crown,
If summer were spring,
And the other way 'round,
Then all the world would be upside down.

Offence, Political Correctness and Censorship

Could someone please tell me when it became the greatest cultural taboo to cause offence - almost, it sometimes seems, worse than murder? When did it become such an evil thing to say something that upsets people?  And why is our language now being twisted by neologisms that are as tortuous as they are execrable?  What are these terms that blossom on the tongue of the zeitgeist like a cancer?

We could blame Political Correctness - the tabloids frequently do so - but this isn't the cause.  Rather, it is the supposedly more palatable term for censorship - or more to the point, self-censorship.  Political correctness is not the cause, but the symptom of the malady.

And the malady, when dissected, comprises three main parts.

The first part we shall simply call:


Part of the problem seems to be that we are expected to make everyone feel 'included' in any discourse; to consider every possible form that humanity might take, and then tippy-toe around any characteristic that might make any of those that have such a characteristic feel in any way different.  Skin colour, physical disabilities, sexual orientation and anything else that one might care to name or think of.  But different from what, or whom?  The largest set outside their particular subset?  Their interlocutor?

Black people are now Afro-Caribbean.  Never mind that Africans and Caribbeans often dislike one another intensely, as many Caribbean people harbour a grudge towards Africans, as the ancestors of the latter sold the ancestors of the former into slavery (Europeans may have been responsible for the slave trade, but raptor states such as Dahomey grew fat on the trade and supplied the 'merchandise' quite happily).

Disabled people are now 'differently-abled' because they might get upset by anyone mentioning that they cannot walk, see, hear or whatever.  But the shying-away from the obvious fact that someone has a physical impairment that affects one of their senses or their mobility or cognitive ability really does seem ridiculous; the difficulty they have makes them no less of a person, it just makes them a person with a difficulty.  What is the point of trying to hide from the fact?

This, however, is by far the lesser part of the disease.  The usage of nouns and adjectives such as these have a habit of shifting around every few years; it is simply the language redecorating the walls, not making structural alterations, and with about as much real significance.

No, there is a deeper aspect to the illness, marked not by the labels it insists upon but with the shift in thinking it demands of everybody.

And so to the second (and unorignally named) part of the malady:


Not only must we be vary careful with the nouns and adjectives that we use, but also the verbs.  We must avoid any mention of anything at all that could possibly allude to there being any kind of a difference between those perceived as being the 'mainstream' and those who are of a 'different' group.

Helen Lewis sets this out very succinctly - and far better than I ever could - on her tumblr article 'Perfection in Language'. She uses a wonderful example:

...Imagine walking out of your front door, stopping the first person you meet and explaining your beliefs to them....
 Of course, I’ve already done something wrong in that opening paragraph. I’ve asked you to imagine walking out of your front door. But I can guarantee you that if I wrote that in a piece, I would get at least one comment “gently reminding” me that some people can’t walk, and some people can’t leave their houses. I’ve been ableist.

Now, what is wrong with walking out of your front door?  What could be more normal, more quotidian, than that?  Are we supposed to believe that those who are unable to walk, or to leave the house, will be mortally wounded by the reminder that the vast majority of others are able to do so?  That those that cannot see must be cossetted with a false belief that there is no such thing as sight?

So we are to avoid any reference to walking, to seeing, to hearing, to running, to living.  And to avoid any reference to these things we must erase them from our thoughts.  We must curtail not only our tongues, but also our brains.  We are to deny to ourselves that our everyday, normal actions are everyday or normal; we must not only pretend to a blind man that there is no such thing as sight, but we must pretend it to ourselves.

Now, it has been the case from time immemorial that if there is an enemy to fight, a process of 'othering' is first undertaken.  It is the psychological distancing of one's own group form the target group; propaganda is often used as part of this process.  In so many of the major wars that have been fought, each side has demonised the other, to make the other side hateful and something less than human.  Because then, the slaughter can begin in earnest.

Now, however, we find that this process has been turned inwards, and we are forced to 'other', to demonise, ourselves.  Be it skin colour, being able-bodied, mental acuity, wealth, ability - whatever you care to name.  If you find yourself in an advantaged or majority group, you are to apologise for yourself and believe yourself to somehow be at fault simply because - to continue Ms. Lewis' example - you are able to walk out of your front door.  Nothing less will do than everyone prostrates themselves at the feet of everyone else, each begging for forgiveness whilst simultaneously demanding that as many others as possible kneel before him as penitents keening their mea culpas.  Genuflect before the masses, the few that are many and the many that are few.

And this leads us to the third, and deepest, part of the disease - the very thing that political correctness, this cultural Marxism that has crept into our world, purportedly seeks to cure:


The aim of the politically correct mode of thought is to be all-inclusive. We are to censor ourselves in order to not cause offence to any 'group', or to those that get offended on their behalf.  But this is where we find the cancer at the heart of the left-wing mind, the worm that devours the root of the ideology.  And it is this:

By treating every conceivable 'disadvantaged' group with kid gloves, by singling them out for special treatment, any differences between that group and everyone else is highlighted, not diminished.  By refusing to allow any subset to be treated in the same manner as the main set, division is created.  The left would seek to invert what they perceive as being the historic order of things, to turn the 'privileged' white heterosexual male from being at the 'apex' of society into being the lowest and most despised group, and to take those at the very 'bottom' of the pyramid and raise them to a position of exalted status.  And of course, to be at the top of this new world order requires no effort on the part of the new elite; rather a lack of effort is all that is demanded.

This inversion is intended not only to affect the perceived hierarchy of society but also the effort required to reach any particular station.  Are you able-bodied? Hard-working? Independent? Determined? Ambitious? Talented? Then you are a sucker.  Because in this new order, the harder you work, the further down you will go.  You cannot work your way up the ladder - all you can do is slide all the way down.  Refuse to work, blame your background, society, anything you like, and you will rise.  The great shall be abased and the abased made great - the promise of Christianity has come about, but in a wholly secular and hateful manner.

Naturally, the proponents of this way of thinking countenance no dissent.  This uber-tolerant mob can tolerate anything other than a difference in opinion.  Do not dare to speak out, do not think of pointing out the absurdity of the premises, do not imagine that you can go against something that so clearly has the love of humanity at its heart and above all do not, do not examine that discomfort, that cognitive dissonance that perturbs you.

Helen Lewis did, this very week.  Within hours, her feminist and politically correct comrades had hounded her into closing down her Twitter account, to suspending her blogging and writing.  What hatred and bile spewed forth, simply because she dared to try to apply reason.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Margaret Thatcher - Initial Thoughts

So, today Margaret Thatcher died.

Needless to say, there were many who trumpeted and brayed about the fact and claimed they would be celebrating her death.  Predictable enough; a quick Google search of 'Maggie's Dead' shows a large number of websites that had been counting down to her demise and were crowing about it loudly. Comparisons with Hitler have been trotted out (Godwin's Law, anyone?) along with cries of 'Ding dong, the witch is dead'.

You might admire her.  You might hate her.  But to celebrate her death is...well, unseemly.

You see, many of those who have been cheering her passing are the same people who preach tolerance and respect to all.  Yet now they show themselves as being deeply intolerant and disrespectful - and yet will still claim to possess and indeed exemplify those virtues that they so openly flout.

And that's what galls me the most; the assumption that morality is something to be forced on others but disregarded on an individual basis.  That the person doing the speaking may judge others, but wishes never to be judged themselves.  Yet how can anyone cite, let alone lay claim to, a morality that they themselves choose to ignore when it suits them?

I shall explore the topic further in another post.  Suffice it to say for now that the time to celebrate Margaret Thatcher's passing was in 1990, when she was removed from office.  Not today.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

The Patriarchy? Seriously?

Well now.  Have you ever heard the term 'The Patriarchy'?  I'm sure you have.  It's the go-to boogeyman of feminists, leftists and right-on types, and it gets used and blamed a lot.

They do seem very reluctant to truly define it, though.  Requests for clarification are met with answers like:  "You know.  The Patriarchy."

Which doesn't really help clear things up any.

It's either that or some allusion to the oppression of women by men.  Which is also rather vague, I feel.

So I thought I'd have a little look and see if I couldn't find out for myself what it might be.  Now, this research below didn't take long, and if anyone can give me a better explanation, I'd like to hear it.


Let's start with the name.  The term 'Patriarchy' means that men - or more specifically given its etymology - fathers, rule society.  And indeed, men have ruled over many societies, not just western ones, since time immemorial.  No argument from me there.

The problem I see is that this has lead to the assumption that all men rule over the society of which they are a part.  And this simply is not true. Moreover, there is the idea that men have oppressed women since the dawn of time, and this is also not true.

Allow me to explain.

These twin assumptions would lead one to the impression that all men, throughout the ages, have lived well and had a say in how society is run.  They also would lead you to believe that the lot of women has been far worse, that women have had no say at all in how society is run, and have generally been held in thralldom to the wills of the men to whom they are related or married, and boy have they suffered for it.

Here's the thing:  whilst civilisation has invariably been run by men, it has only been the men at the top: those belonging to an elite class.  Nobody else had a say at all, for a very long time.  Even here in the West, in our much-vaunted democracies, it was pretty much a closed shop.

Allow me to present, as an example, a timeline for the right to vote here in the UK:

1800: Voting allowed on the basis of wealth and class.  About 3% of the population could vote.

1832: The Reform Act allowed certain leaseholders and householders the vote, taking the figure to 5%.

1867: The Second Reform Act extended the voting population to about 20%.

1884: The Third Reform Act extended the vote to any adult male owning or occupying land with an annual rateable value of £10 or more could vote - and the figure went up to 24%

1918: The Representation of the People Act meant that all men over the age of 21 could vote, and all women over the age of 30 could vote.

1969: All adults over the age of 18 could vote.

So, until 1918, the majority of men were unable to vote; even after 1884, less than 50% of men could vote or have any say in what went on.

And in the meantime, who fought the wars that the government decided to fight?  Who worked in the dangerous jobs?

When women were campaigning for suffrage in 1916, where were their men?  Where would you have rather been at that time - chained to railings in Belgravia to campaign for the right to vote, or conscripted against your will to a mud-filled trench in France to get a facefull of mustard gas?

My point being, the Patriarchy, if such we are to call it, oppressed men a damned sight more than it did women.  Which leads one to think that the Patriarchy is, in fact, a myth.

It was a monarchy.  It was an aristocracy.  It was an oligarchy.  Given the use of the militia to quell, inter alia, the chartist riots, it was arguably a timarchy.

But I cannot see how it has ever been a patriarchy.

The Men's Rights Movement

OK, bear with me here.  I'm a newcomer to blogging, the 'blogosphere', whatever you want to call it.  I'm not all that interested in the conventions of it, other than keeping a relatively civilised tone and trying to back up my opinions with facts, or at the very least, convincing justification.  Or, failing either of these, bad language.  The internet is too full of idiots who want their voices to be heard, but have nothing to say.  Maybe I'm just adding to that, judge for yourself.

If you have noticed my little bit of profile detail off to the right there, I'm an atheist, a libertarian and favour (to a point) the Men's Rights Movement.  The first two because anyone with an ounce of sense (in my opinion) ought to be if they just think about it, and the last because I have in the past been in a particularly poisonous relationship, which really opened my eyes.  Whilst my intention is to explore the atheism and my political views, I shall make a bit of a start with the MRM thing.

So now - I have found an awful lot of MRM blogs and websites out there.  Some of them have something to say, and say it well.  Others have something to say, but say it badly.  And some are just misogynists, plain and simple.  I am not a misogynist, whatever anyone wants to say, but there are a few fundamental issues where modern feminism falls flat on its face, and it needs pointing out.  The emperor is fucking naked, and I refuse to pretend otherwise.

Feminists have for many years sought equal rights for women.  Hear, hear, I say.  Women should have equal rights and equal opportunities; that view goes right along with my libertarian leanings.  We all want the same things when you get down to it, regardless of age, gender, creed, ethnicity and so on.  The trouble seems to come when people fail to recognise that we all want the same things, or believe that these things have to be competed for - as if there were not quite enough rights or opportunities to go round, and that some sectors of society ought to have a greater share than others.  They all want a larger slice of the abstract concept pie, which is about as ludicrous as you can get.  Rights are not a zero-sum game.

Anyway - I digress.  My beef with feminism is that they seek ever greater rights for women, and seem to have over-shot the turning somewhat; women have for years had rights that are more-or-less equal to those of men (I'll not deny that some fine tuning is still needed here and there).  Women can vote, got to university, get jobs in just about every sector - bar combat roles in the military, although that is starting to shift. Yet still, they call for greater rights, to the point where they have privileges greater than those enjoyed by men, yet still this is not enough.

For example, I have worked with a number of Local Authorities and Housing Associations here in England, and have found in these a number of women who have been promoted far beyond their abilities.  I don't mean just a level or so above where they should be; that is in the nature of promotion, that everyone gets promoted to a point or level just beyond where they should be, and there they stop. However, I have encountered a number of women who have been pushed ever-higher up the ladder, and they lack the aptitude and capability to be anywhere near where they are.  I do NOT mean all women at high level management, but there are quite a few out there.  Organisations - particularly those that are publicly funded - seem to believe that one way to establish their right-on credentials is to fast track such people to the upper echelons, with the result that incompetent twats end up running the show. Not semi-competent twats, as is the natural order of things, you understand; fully paid-up, need-someone-to-hold-the-map-while-they-use-both-hands-to-find-their-arse incompetent twats. People who are fundamentally (is that a pun?) useless.

But it is not just this that irks me.  You see, as I mentioned earlier, I was in a relationship that I can only describe as abusive.  It did not start that way; they seldom do. It creeps in, gradual-like.  You make a small compromise or concession, then another, then another, until you realise that you have been gradually alienated from friends and family alike, and that your self-confidence has been subtly eroded away. You are scorned and upbraided by your 'loving' partner for things that she (or he) does with impunity. You might suffer this in silence, until one day they push their luck a bit too far, and it brings you up short.

My own epiphany came when, after having listened to some neurotic bullshit for - I kid you not - six hours, I lost my rag and shouted.  Fully justified in doing so, as well.

"If you raise your voice to me again," I was told, "I'll call the police and tell them that you are unstable and get you sectioned under the Mental Health Act!  They'll take my word for it, and it will just be one tired doctor who wants to go home and he'll sign anything!"

Fuck me.  This woman thinks she can get me sectioned just for shouting? When she has been screaming, slamming doors and trying to physically push me around the room?  She's mental, I thought.

Yes.  But here's the kicker; a good friend of mine, a criminal law barrister, has told me that she could indeed get me sectioned.

Imagine that.

On the uncorroborated testimony of one person, another person can find themselves arrested, incarcerated and considered insane just because they raised their voice.  No due process to speak of.  Just one person making an allegation that is unfounded, and that's it - the machinery of the state swings into action, and you're fucked.  The state as a tool of abuse.

And this is where it gets really messed up; were I to try the same thing on her, what do you think my chances would be?  Zero.  I am a man, she is a woman, and therefore I am totally at her mercy.

Now - someone tell me that I am not alone in thinking that that is totally fucked-up.

So, I started to look into the matter.  And that is where it got really scary.  

Needless to say, she is no longer a part of my life.  Can you say hallelujah?