Applauding Brunei

Sultan of Brunei

Now that the government of Brunei has fully implemented sharia law in regard to gays and adulterers – meaning that those found guilty of these violations of Islam will henceforth be stoned to death – politicians, celebrities, and commentators around the world have been unhesitant in their expressions of outrage. People like Ellen Degeneres, George Clooney, and Elton John have called for boycotts of the Beverly Hills Hotel, the Dorchester in London, the Plaza Athenee in Paris, and other the posh hostelries that the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, owns in the U.S. and Europe; Deutsche Bank has banned its employees from staying at the hotels, and the Financial Times and other firms have cancelled events scheduled to take place in them. Ads for holidays in Brunei have been pulled from London buses; Virgin Australia terminated a deal with Royal Brunei Airlines, the state-owned carrier, as has at least one major travel agency; Western universities that have awarded honorary degrees to the Sultan (who also serves as his nation’s prime minister, defense minister, finance minister, and foreign minister) have said that they are reviewing those honors.

Interior, Dorchester Hotel

Yet this fury over the Sultan’s action is not universal. Residents of Brunei interviewed by the Agence France-Presse gave it a thumbs-up. “I’m proud, because implementing the law feels like it solidifies the Islamic identity of Brunei,” said Muhammad Antoni, a 27-year-old worker. Haziah Zainal, a 36-year-old civil servant, said that famous people calling for boycotts should mind their own business. “These actions seem ignorant,” said Zainal, “as they have not even been here to experience what it’s like.” While everyone is focusing on Brunei, homosexuality is a capital offense in at least ten other Muslim countries, although in Yemen the punishment is applicable only to married men and in Qatar only to married Muslims. One of the countries in question is Saudi Arabia, but this has not prevented companies like Uber, Lyft, Twitter, and Snapchat from accepting Saudi investment or universities like MIT, funded by Saudi money. Polls have shown that close to half of Muslims in Britain would like to see sharia law introduced in that country, but when UKIP head Gerard Batten said on LBC the other day that many British Muslims do indeed hold anti-democratic views, his interviewer called this a grotesque exaggeration and branded Batten a far-right bigot for even suggesting such a thing.

Daniel Haqiqatjou

Among those celebrating Brunei’s tough new laws was Daniel Haqiqatjou, a Harvard-educated American Muslim who, in a March 30 article, praised the Sultan for “implementing hudud [punishments dictated by sharia law] to crack down on sodomites and fornicators!” Haqiqatjou explained his enthusiasm as follows: “Allah created human beings in a certain way. Our bodies and minds are created in a certain way and only certain types of relationships allow human beings to flourish in this world and the next, while other types of behaviors lead to destruction and widespread suffering.” Taking note of the organized effort to persuade people not to stay at Brunei-owned hotels, Haqiqatjou wrote: “I think Muslims need to counteract any boycott by making Brunei their next vacation destination spot. Maybe some of these expensive spiritual tourism tours…can make Brunei the next go-to site, maybe attend a caning or two so Western Muslims can experience first hand what implementing hudud actually means.” If Haqiqatjou were some rara avis, of course, his views wouldn’t be worth heeding. The alarming fact, however, is that his number is legion.

Malcolm Harris loves the idea of assassinating Republicans

Malcolm Harris

In May of last year, we spent a couple of days on this site contemplating a young political writer named Malcolm Harris, who in a stupid article for the New Republic had actually tried to rehabilitate Communism. When we looked into Harris’s background, we discovered him to be a child of privilege (his father had been a “Silicon Valley corporate lawyer” and then a diplomat) who had thrown himself into what leftist journo Mark Ames called a “brand of marketing-concocted ‘anarchism,’” helped found Occupy Wall Street, and then, quite amusingly, rushed to cash in on his newly minted radical celebrity, signing up with a speakers’ bureau and charging $5000 fees to speak to his alleged fellow members of the fabled “one percent.” During one OWS demo in 2011 he led his flock onto Brooklyn Bridge and held up traffic. OWS soon died down, but Harris, alas, has kept going, churning out drearily predictable pieces (for Al Jazeera, no less) with titles like “Wealthy Cabals Run America” and “Hooray for Cultural Marxism.”

Rep. Steve Scalise

Harris had dropped off our radar for a bit when he became a part of the story of the attempted mass assassination, on June 14, of those baseball-playing Republican Congressmen by a Bernie Sanders fan from Ohio. Harris wrote a couple of tweets that, Betsy Rothstein of The Daily Caller suggested, “may be the most heinous reaction” to that horrible event. In one tweet, Harris noted that Congressman Steve Scalise was in stable condition, “but a lot of Americans die from hospital errors so keep crossing your fing[ers].” In another, he asked: “If the shooter has a serious health condition then is taking potshots at the GOP leadership considered self defense?” The point apparently being that the GOP’s replacement for Obamacare, whatever it turns out to be, will leave people in dire medical straits high and dry. In yet another tweet, Harris wrote: “Nope nope nope you can’t use ‘respect for human life’ to defend GOP house leadership. That’s just bad math.” Funny how far-left ideologues who claim be so fanatically concerned about the welfare of fellow human beings turn out, in fact, to care about people in the abstract but not necessarily about specific individuals.

Harris’s Twitter account identified him as a writer for Vox. Although he has written for that site, Vow was quick to disavow any formal relationship with him.

Tiana Lowe

Harris wasn’t alone in responding to the attack with coldblooded snark. Others, too, took to social media to suggest that the violence of the Ohio socialist constituted a legitimate reaction to GOP policy positions, because those policy positions are themselves, in essence, acts of violence. As Tiana Lowe noted in National Review, this is a particularly dangerous way of turning reality upside down: “the notion that passionate political discourse is violence while actual violence can be excused,” she write, “is beyond Orwellian; it’s barbaric.” Yep. Unfortunately, it’s also received opinion on today’s loony far left.  

After being widely criticized for his tweets, Harris refused to apologize. And why should he? Those nasty tweets put him back on the map. To be sure, he’s been doing other writing. Since OWS faded away, he’s supposedly rebranded himself as an expert on the younger generation. On June 9 the ever-declining Washington Post ran a silly think piece in which he contemplated the question “Why do millennials keep leaking government secrets?” He also supposedly has a book forthcoming in November from Little, Brown entitled Kids These Days: Human Capital and the Making of Millennials. We can’t wait.

Laurie Penny’s moral equivalence

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Laurie Penny

Today we’re continuing our study of 29-year-old British columnist Laurie Penny, who, in half a dozen books, innumerable articles for The New Statesman and The Independent, and countless lectures before rapt audiences around the world, has bravely raged against the evil Western capitalist patriarchy that has kept her enchained in oppression as a woman throughout her difficult life – from her upbringing as the daughter of two very affluent attorneys, through her years at a posh public school and at Cambridge, right up till now, when she’s experiencing professional mega-success but has had to endure the cruelty of online persecution and abuse (read: people disagreeing with her on Twitter and Facebook).

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Cologne, New Year’s Eve

Yesterday we began looking at the column Penny wrote last January about the mass rapes in Cologne. Her basic point was this: when Western men or conservatives or whoever criticize mass rape by Muslims, they’re stealing “feminist rhetoric in the name of imperialism and racism.” Lots of men, she reports, have been calling on her to condemn Muslim violence against women. But this is the best she can do: when it comes to patriarchal brutality, “there’s not a country or culture on earth that won’t have to take a long, hard look at itself.” Hey, it’s our old friend again – moral equivalence. “I stand,” she adds, “with the many, many Muslim, Arab, Asian and immigrant feminists organising against sexism and misogyny within and beyond their own communities.” But, as she’s been taught by her far-left feminist mentors, it is not the white woman’s place to speak out against the brown man’s misogyny.

koln9She dismisses the idea that it would help to improve controls on immigration into Europe. “That fits in,” she writes, “with the shibboleth that only savage, foreign men and hardened criminals rape and abuse women.” But this is a straw-man argument (a species of rhetoric that is common in Penny’s work): nobody has ever said that “only” foreigners and criminals rape and abuse women. More: “As usual, white supremacist patriarchy only concerns itself with women’s safety and women’s dignity when rape and sexual assault can be pinned on cultural ‘outsiders.’” Again, there’s that ridiculous “only.” All this, of course, is a smokescreen thrown up by a pampered Western woman who’s comfortable bashing the “white supremacist patriarchy” – including the police and soldiers who guard her while she sleeps – but who’s too pusillanimous to face one stark, simple fact: namely, that rape is far, far more prevalent in the Islamic world than it is in the West, and that to import armies of Muslim men into Europe without careful vetting them is to invite a terrifying upsurge in European rape statistics.

penny10Penny goes even further – disgustingly so. She accuses the white men who express concern about Muslim rapists of doing so because they’re turned on sexually by the idea of it. It doesn’t seem to occur to her that these men may worry about the fate of their wives and daughters and granddaughters in an Islamized society where unveiled infidel females are considered legitimate targets of sexual assault. But to understand their worry would involve a sense of realism and responsibility that Penny utterly lacks.

“The point,” she says by way of summing up her rant on Cologne, “is that misogyny knows no colour or creed.” And stupidity, we might add, knows no gender.

More tomorrow.