“Strong men also cry”

Some choice stories which I have failed to comment on over recent days:

Tomas Delgado – this is the man who killed a 17 year-old cyclist by running him over, and then attempted to sue the dead boy’s family for €20,000 in order to pay for repairs to his car. Hundreds of people descended on the court in Haro, northern Spain, to show their utter contempt for this heartless bastard. He then withdrew the lawsuit, but not because he felt guilty or had had some sort of ‘Road to Damascus’ moment. No, he was just pissed off with the negative attention his family were receiving from the press. I have the feeling that if Ron Paul ever got anywhere near power, he’d probably pass a law approving such damages. Perhaps even kick the parents out of their home. I mean, it’s an Audi.

Rudy Giuliani – this is the man who was incapable of opening his mouth without reminding people about September 11th, 2001. He has just retired from the race to become Republican nominee for US president after what might have been the most spectacularly poorly thought-out campaign in electoral history. At his last few speeches, he barely got 100 supporters showing up and you could almost feel sorry for him if he didn’t constantly debase himself and his country by doing everything he could to cash in on the deaths of the victims in the Twin Towers.

John Edwards – this is the man who was never really going to make it. Nice but a bit dull, he could probably have been a decent president. As someone else put it, he failed because his two rivals have stories which are much easier packaged. Ah well, it’ll probably make little difference anyway.

Martin Amis – this is the man who appeared on Start The Week on Monday criticising multiculturalism. He didn’t really say much except that Muslims are inherently backward and that he “invented” multiculturalism. Actually, it’s interesting that those who have abandoned the left to become neo-conservatives are now becoming quite fierce proponents of ethic nationalism (which is the only logical alternative to multiculturalism). It’s really not that surprising, though, as these fellows all refer to ‘the Enlightenment’ (which created, among other things, nationalism) as the high point of human reason. They’re all cribbing from the (interestingly named) Paul Cliteur anyway.

4 thoughts on ““Strong men also cry”

  1. A couple of points on the Amis thing: nationalism had existed for a long time before the 17th century and Islam is inherently backward. So are Christianity and Judaism but Islam, which means ‘submission’, is more ‘backwards’ in both its modern practice and its scriptures. The whole idea is to submit utterly and challenge nothing. 1500 year old ideas, unquestioningly accepted, are hardly likely to be progressive and it’s therefore unsurprising that fanatics can find doctrinal basis for their murderously homophobic beliefs.

    The problem is that Islam is generally something that people are born with rather than choose and the vast majority of Muslims are non-white. This means that people who criticise Islam are in danger of sounding racist. This doesn’t mean that liberals should be afraid to criticise illiberal, medieval belief systems.

  2. Well that’s interesting. Islam literally means submission… but isn’t ‘submission’ at the base of all three Abrahamic faiths?

    Spanish (or, for that matter, Polish)-style Catholicism is a vehemently homophobic, right-wing, counter-progressive, nationalist and dogmatic faith system. Indeed, it is not long since priests in this country were beseeching the faithful to slaughter communists.

    Of course, not all Catholics are dangerous or violent. But many will find it difficult to criticise Josemaría Escrivá’s firm friendship and alliance with the murderous fascist dictator, Franco.

    That doesn’t make them all fascists.

    As to nationalism, I’m not 100% sure but I believe that the modern concept of nationalism is a product of the industrial revolution/enlightenment/romanticism in the late 1700s, growing in popularity through the 1800s until its most violent forms developed in the 1920s in Europe.

  3. Another point here.

    When Martin Amis says ‘he’ invented multiculturalism, he is of course referring to his generation of writers and academics; those who in the anglo-sphere came through a system of institutionalised post-modernism. A climate where people will perform great somersaults of logic so as to avoid ever stating clearly what they believe in. I think that like others, Amis abhors the critique of the enlightenment when, as is often the case, it’s based on the most obtuse and faddish of reasoning.

  4. “A climate where people will perform great somersaults of logic so as to avoid ever stating clearly what they believe in.” – this sounds suspiciously close to the ‘thought experiments’ Amis has been carrying out recently. The best critique of the ‘enlightenment’ would be a reasonable one rather than an affirmation of its impossible, infrangible perfection.

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