Worse than moral equivalence

Penny Red (Penny Laurie) speaking at rally. -- Several hundred people, mainly women, came to rally outside Parliament to oppose restrictions on abortions proposed by Nadine Dorries and others, and to campaign for a woman's right to chose, both here and Northern Ireland. UK. 9th July 2011
Penny Laurie

Though she’s only 29, Laurie Penny‘s output is already depressingly large, and therefore impossible to cover adequately in just a few short pieces. Then again, a hell of a lot of it is the same thing over and over again. In other words, she’s a narrow-minded ideological scold, not an original and versatile thinker. Today we’ll conclude our week with Ms. Penny by looking at a few more bits and pieces from her oeuvre.

The first item, a July 2014 column, shows that Penny is, unsurprisingly, an eager – and vulgar – Israel-basher.  Accusing Israel of murdering hundreds of Palestinians, including children, Penny (who is herself half Jewish) claimed to be pained by anti-Semitic rhetoric on the part of Palestinians and their supporters. But she quickly added:

היום הסתיים קורס סמלים בכירים שהתקיים בבית הספר למכים וחיר של זרוע היבשה בצהל בקורס נכחו לראשונה מספר שיא של ארבע בנות שסיימו את הקורס יחדיו לראשונה ארבע הבנות יחזרו לשרת כמפקדות בכירות בפלוגות השונות בגדוד הקרקל ובחיל ההנדסה הקרבית
Bad guys?

It is not anti-Semitic to suggest that Israel doesn’t get a free pass to kill whoever it likes in order to feel “safe.” It is not anti-Semitic to point out that if what Israel needs to feel “safe” is to pen the Palestinian people in an open prison under military occupation, the state’s definition of safety might warrant some unpacking. And it is not anti-Semitic to say that this so-called war is one in which only one side actually has an army.

hamas1
Good guys?

Yesterday we noted Penny’s penchant for moral equivalence. But this was worse than moral equivalence. Penny wasn’t equating Israel’s defensive measures with the Islamic terrorism to which it’s a response; she was actually painting Israel as an armed aggressor and the Palestinians, because they don’t have an “army” in the same sense that Israel does, as helpless victims. She even managed to work in the word “genocide,” which she did in this sneaky fashion:

This is a conflict in which no one wants to edge towards saying the word “genocide,” because in this context that is a term so loaded that what’s left of reasoned debate staggers and falls to its knees.

Then why mention it? 

Among the ticklish facts that did go unmentioned in Penny’s column, of course, was that Hamas, while targeting innocent Israeli civilians for coldblooded murder, hides behind its own children and mosques and schools and hospitals, making all of them vulnerable to retaliatory Israeli fire, while the IDF, in its effort to take down these savages, does its best to avoid harming civilians on either side (even those who may be aiding and abetting the savages).

Anyway, on to a more recent article, in which our heroine shared her thoroughly predictable reaction to the Brexit vote. She began as follows:

This morning, I woke up in a country I do not recognise…

There’s not enough tea in the entire nation to help us Keep Calm and Carry On today. Not on a day when prejudice, propaganda, naked xenophobia and callous fear-mongering have won out over the common sense we British like to pride ourselves on.

farage
Nigel Farage

Apparently considering those nasty words insufficient, Penny went on to slur Brexit champion Nigel Farage as a “racist” and his supporters as “the frightened, parochial lizard-brain of Britain.” Then, without the slightest hint of irony or self-awareness, she said she wanted “to wake up tomorrow in a country where people are kind, and tolerant, and decent to one another.”

In any case, at no point in a very long article did Penny acknowledge that there might be any merit in the pro-Brexit argument that the EU is undemocratic – or that any of the pro-Brexit voters, far from being bigots, were simply voting for the right to choose their own rulers again.

We’ll close with a couple of YouTube videos. First, here’s one that shows her complete ignorance of – or indifference to? – the basic facts of economics (please excuse the inelegant title that the YouTube user has placed on it): 

And finally, this next one shows her talking part in a 2013 discussion on BBC’s Question Time. The issue: should Muslim women in Britain be allowed to wear the full face-covering niqab, even in jobs like schoolteacher and nurse? Other participants had nuanced views, with a couple expressing concern about women wearing veils when working in hospitals and dealing with patients. But Penny was firm: it was, she pronounced, “brutally islamophobic and deeply sexist” to even discuss the question.

Admittedly, we haven’t given this prolific young lady her due. But we hope we’ve covered enough of her work to show, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this is, in sum, a totalitarian soul who, though she takes part in endless debates, doesn’t really believe in debate. As she sees it, the opponents who disagree with her on Twitter are trolls who should probably be banned from the Internet. And the very idea of holding TV discussions about issues on which 29-year-old Laurie Penny has come to an unequivocal conclusion are offensive in and of themselves, and should be outright verboten.

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