Sunday, 9 August 2009

Guardian Censorship

I posted the following comment on the Guardian website the other day in response to Tariq Ramadan's article on Turkish accession to the EU. By Saturday morning, it had received almost 40 recommendations, which is high for a lengthy comment on the 3rd comments page. By mid-day on Saturday, it had been removed by a moderator. Note I am apparently on a danger list at the Guardian, and my comments must be pre-approved before they are made visible to anyone else. So a censor had viewed and approved my comment on Friday, when it first appeared, then the weekend shift censors came in on Saturday and had a different opinion. This shows how frighteningly arbitrary all censorship systems are, and why absolute freedom of speech (libel excepted) must be affirmed.

Here is the text of the deleted comment. Judge for yourself whether you think it contains anything offensive, and see the Guardian flounder badly as it fails catastrophically in its aim of becoming the prime global platform for the exchange of liberal ideas. You can't become a platform for the exchange of ideas when you're afraid of ideas. If Karl Marx had been alive today, he would have been censored off the pages of the Guardian as someone who is intolerant of religion - "the opiate of the masses."

It seems to me one of the supreme paradoxes of world history that political correctness, a kind of "anti-racist" mania, has taken much of Europe's liberal left down a bizarre and circuitous path of ideas which culminates in them defending the basest intolerance: an intense religiosity which threatens all the achievements of tolerance Europe achieved in the latter decades of the 20th century. People who abhor gays, women and free speech are being welcomed into our midst, and we are not allowed to express unhappiness about it; otherwise we are deemed intolerant, censored and, in some cases, sent to prison. The old left's bitter antagonism to religiosity in all its forms was far, far healthier than this twisted tolerance of intolerance.

Here is the text of the censored comment:

Only 3% of Turkish territory is in Europe. It did not experience any of the formative events that shaped European culture like the Renaissance or the Enlightenment, the spread or decline of Christianity. It is simply absurd to call Turkey a European country.

Turkish cultural attitudes are primitive and unacceptable by European standards. Half of all murders in the country are "honour killings" - murders (or enforced suicides) of young girls by members of their own family, supposedly to cleanse the shame of having formed some undesirable romantic attachment (although sometimes for as trivial a thing as standing too close to an older man or receiving an SMS message).

If Turkey joins the European Union, it will be the largest single country and will soon constitute one quarter of the EU's entire population. Normal democratic pressures will force politicians to pander to Turkish prejudices. Modern Europe, on the whole, is the most tolerant place in the world. Turkish accession will threaten all this. Retrograde, primitively prejudiced attitudes against gays, women, free speech and a host of other issues will suddenly become a major part of European political discourse. Turkey is a threat to European tolerance - culturally, it is an American Deep South x 10.

You point out that the EU lacks political influence commensurate with its economic weight because it is disunited. Destroying the EU's cultural homogeneity only makes it less likely that the EU will be able to develop a unified foreign policy in future. This, of course, is why the Americans and the anti-EU right, such as the Conservatives, were so keen to incorporate the ex-communist countries of eastern Europe into the EU and why they are such eager proponents of Turkish accession too (something that might otherwise be considered counter-intuitive considering the racist attitudes traditionally common among their political base). They know that Turkish accession will scupper forever the dream of a united EU as a world power.

The economic issues you raise are a red herring. We can trade with Turkey and offer it privileged market access (as we do currently) without it being a member.

I have no doubt that the accession of Turkey to the European Union will ultimately destroy the European Union. Opinion polls show that the people of Europe are overwhelmingly opposed to Turkish membership - they know that it is not European, whatever the elite say. When the 100 million Turks start distorting European laws to reflect their own prejudices, many people will conclude that the EU is simply not worth going on with. It won't happen right away, but 20 years after Turkey joins, if it joins, the EU will disintegrate. Historians looking back on the failed experiment will conclude that Turkish accession was blow that ultimately proved fatal. If only the warnings had been heeded in advance.

1 comment:

  1. And in those 20 years, a rapid Islamization would be inflicted on European nations.

    For a critique of Turkey's real intentions:

    "The EU, Islam and Turkey."

    'gates of vienna' (10 Aug.)