I’m Voting Labour Because I’m Not a Monster!!!

Within a mile radius of where I live in South East London, there are a number of home windows still showcasing Labour posters from the general election four months ago, while political stickers can be seen on many telephone poles and such like. Among all of them, I have found no political message to the right of Labour. Here’s what I saw.

1)… I’m voting Labour because I’m not a monster!!!

In another words, “everybody who doesn’t agree with my political views is not human.” What confuses me is why anyone would advertise such a malicious message on their living room window. They must think of themselves righteous for doing so, otherwise why would they? Dehumanizing people paves the way for violence.

2) Stand up to racism.

This gives the impression that racism in London is a HUGE issue. Really? Where else in the world do you see people of all races working together peacefully? Sure, it was an issue with first – second generation Asians in England, but what about now?

3) Kick racism out of racists.
I’m glad someone’s scratched this one. I saw another sticker that said “Fight Racism By Any Means Necessary”. What are they angry about -in London? If they really cared about racism, why not sound the alarm on what’s going on in Burma against the Rohingya, Turkey against the Kurds, Bahrain against the Africans, the Arab states against the Jews, even Japan against the Koreans, the list goes on and on (sadly), but London? Really? In any case, this kind of street violence seen in this picture is sickening.

4) London is Anti-fascist.Alright, so violence is ‘cool’?

5) Smash Sexism, Smash the System.

Smash _fill in the blank, choose your enemy_, Smash the System. …Violent, violent, violent.

6) Labour history is migrant history: Stand with migrant workers.

I highly doubt that Labour voting unions in the 60s and 70s would agree with this.

7) Join the Rent Strike!

Ironic how socialist ‘workers’ like to strike while capitalists like to work.

That’s it. Thanks for joining me on this eye popping little tour of my neighbourhood.

We won the vote!

I think we deserve a pat on the back for doing what we could. I feel excited, hopeful and proud for us having chosen a riskier road to freedom. Now, more than ever, I want to show the world and those who voted to Remain, that leaving was the right thing to do. This is the time to rebuild this country, politically, economically, and socially, and we  libertarians have a lot to offer.

The first action we took since the Brexit vote was to write a petition to Parliament, calling on them not to impose closed borders. This was to counter the anti-immigration sentiment that carried a portion of the Leave campaign. We want to endorse tolerance. Please read and sign the petition!

Sign the Petition

On immigration and on other social issues, I believe we can offer unbiased and open platforms for debate, not allowing political correctness to silence truths. Personally, I think it is important to understand the reasons behind the fear of immigration to not let any one body rise to power who wrongfully ride on this unspoken angst.

On trade, economy, welfare, peace – we have a lot to say! The time is ripe, to put forth our creeds – which are backed by varied but solid philosophies – so that we may live in a freer, happier and more prosperous society. I believe that we are in the right place at the right time to do so.

I voted to Leave so that my child could have a voice; should she wish to change any laws, that she had a means to. I voted to Leave to safeguard her from terrorism. I voted to Leave so that we could more freely trade with the rest of the world, as well as EU member states, and finally I voted to Leave so that my family could hire the carers we want, who are best fit and hardworking, who most often happen to be non-UK, non-EU citizens with a insanely restrictive visa process.

While I’ve debated with more than a few Remainers who wished similar things but thought remaining in the EU was the answer, I want to prove to them that the key to a more fair and just society is not in the hands of a state but in each of us individuals.

What I’ve learnt from the streets on this EU Leave campaign

I’ve had civil discussions with a few Remainers who were intellectually convinced that Remain was better for us. An interesting comment that I got from more than a few was that the EU was more democratic than the British government. A (in my opinion mistaken) notion that ran amongst many Remainers was that the EU, a bigger state, was the answer to the woes of a smaller state.

A few days ago a woman came out of her house and handed me back the leaflet I had put in her mailbox. “For Poland, the EU is the last string of hope for a democracy. Poland is right wing. And you are trying to destroy our hope?” I unerstood her passion, and wanted to say allowing a big state to have more power is not the answer, but she shut the door becuase she was busy cooking.

On Oxford Street yesterday a woman from NewZealand said; “The peope who accuse EU of not being democratic don’t even take part in electing MEPs” .

If I had thought of it then, I would have let her know that MEPs are appointed by the party, not elected from us.

At Oxford Circus I said to another woman, “MEPs can’t write legislation, the Commission does, it has both legislative and executive powers.”

“Not true” she shook her head passionately. “Who writes laws here?” she asked. I said “Parliament” she told me I was wrong and furiously walked off.

Another woman at Oxford St shouted “The Empire has fallen!” She thought us Leavers were trying to prop up the British Empire!

A man commented that a fellow leafletter’s logo -Union Jack in the shape of a lion’s head-, was ‘racist’.

Another fellow leafletter was told something like ‘you should be ashamed of yourself’.

Finally, I was told to “go to hell” by a man again at Oxford St.

I must say, the poeple who were most vehemently opposed to Leave were white middleclass. I found myself being a bit causious when approaching them.

On the other hand, it felt easy to approach Asian, black and working class white people, who were either already for Leave, or simply curious and thankful for the leaflet. Richard noticed many undecided people were black women. Could the minority population be neglected by the campaigns?

Late last night handing out last of the leaflets around my neighbourhood, we met a man who was undecided. He was a softspoken middle aged Indian man. We acknowleged how the campaign had been ugly (especially about immigration), after which we went into a long discussion about the implications of the referendum, etc. At one point we brought up the unfortunate murder of an MP, to which he said “who died?”

We were stunned to know he hadn’t heard of it. Apparently, he had unplugged himself from all ‘news’ for the last week, instead sought to gain information by engaging in conversations. Impressive man, and he was so humble. I hoped to meet him again.

Immigration, identity and Brexit

Why is the immigration issue at the heart of many a Brexiteer? In a recent conversation I was engaged in, it was pointed out that a stable society has a common culture, and that culture is not the same as race. For example, we have a British culture that includes people of many different races and creeds, as seen in the Vote Leave camp which include amongst others, Muslims for Britain and a LGTB group Out and Proud. Interestingly, a lot of the earlier immigrant population of Africans, Caribbeans and Asians tend to support Brexit as well, as I’ve heard from a few different sources. The common thread is a shared British cultural identity. What has cultural identity got to do with Brexit?

Wanting to control the flow of immigration is not racist nor anti-other-people, it’s a sentiment that arises trying to protect one’s identity from cultural erosion. When an immigrant population drastically changes a culture that you identify with, immigration can feel like a personal threat to one’s identity.

Everybody associates with one cultural identity or another.
For Brexiters, this identity is linked to a solid past. How about you? Do you identify with your family from whence you came, your land where you grew up, your language, your history, the entertainment that made you and your friends laugh? If so, then you may want to conserve and protect these aspects of your culture. In which case getting out of the EU is a good idea, because we want certain things to stay the same, i.e., we want control over immigration so as to protect the culture that we identify with. (Addendum: The EU has also undermined a deep rooted English culture of jury trial, Habeas Corpus, and industrial pioneering that is only possible in a free market capitalism. Some things are worth conserving.)
On the other hand, if you identify with an idealistic future of a new world order where everybody in the world is equal and the government provides you with the essentials of life, then the EU probably sounds like a step in the right direction.

Some would say that it is part of British culture to accept immigrants, and that cultures evolve, which is true. In the past, and also currently, immigrants assimilated, and together with the local population, developed a new identity called British. It takes time and will of all parties. But the current open-border immigration is a different matter. When discussing immigration, we must talk about numbers and time frame, to properly understand the situation. My husband explained it like this: Immigration is like rain; when the fields are dry and the crops are wilting, you want it to rain. But when the fields are flooded and the sheep are drowning, the last thing you want is any more rain. So with immigration, a culture can absorb moderate numbers of immigrants at a time, but not large numbers all at once, otherwise the culture, hence society, becomes very unstable.

The Brexit campaign is said to be so much more energized than the Remain campaign (even when Remain has more than twice the funding of Leave). I think this is because the influx of immigration in the last fifteen years has forced us to reflect on our own identities, and have awakened our primal instincts to fight back what feels like a threat to our own identities.

Vote Leave, the safer option

At stake – the future of our democracy

On issues like the economy, immigration and the NHS, should decisions be made by an open, public debate or behind closed doors by un-elected and unaccountable officials? As the EU has grown in strength, decisions have increasingly been made by people we have no control over.

We don’t have to stay in the EU to trade with EU member states

The pro-EU campaign wants us to think leaving the EU would bring trade to a halt with other EU countries, but that is not true. Norway and Switzerland outside the EU enjoy trading with the EU, so do many other countries like China and the USA.

The EU threatens our legal rights

In this country we have rights to protect us from arbitrary punishment. Jury trials and Habeas Corpus mean we cannot be locked for days without a fair trial. However, under the European Arrest Warrant, we can be sent to another country where these protections do not exist.

Choosing independence is not racist

The people of Ghana were not called racist when it became independent. No one said the Jamaicans turned their backs on the world, when it gained independence. Voting to leave is about the people of Britain choosing to manage their own affairs through a democratic political system. It has nothing to do with being against anyone else.

If in doubt, vote out!

We face a momentous decision: whether to remain within the EU and see our democratic system of government wither away, or choose independence and take control of our nation and its laws.

The Freedom to Speak about Islam

I’ve been frustrated recently for having become curious about Islam. Specifically, I have questions which I would like for a Muslim person to answer, but I can’t find anybody discussing such questions. What I find are mostly one way monologues from opposing sides. (in the last week or so, thanks to Trump, US media like Fox news have taken up questioning Islam, but in a very biased manner. I’m looking for an honest, agenda-less discussion.)

My questions:

  • The Quran urges Muslim believers to “fight until all religions are only for Allah.” Qur’an (8:39) Can we take this literally?
  • Ideally, which ought to be obeyed? Sharia law, or laws of the land where you live?
  • How Muslim is ISIS?
  • How can I trust that you are not deceiving me in your answers (Taquiyya)?

I’ve searched on YouTube for decent debates or tutorials, but besides an agonizingly tamed debate between Roger Scruton and Imam Zaid Shakir, and a few debates between a Christian, David Wood, and various Imams, there’s simply not much out there.

Which reminds me of Innes Bowen who embarked on writing her book Medina in Birmingham, Najaf in Brent: Inside British Islam, because she could hardly find any decent studies on Muslims living in Britain. (9/11 didn’t spark any such studies?)

I have a Muslim acquaintance who might be willing to answer these questions without taking offense, we’ll see. I’ll invite her to ask me about Christianity, Buddhism, Taoism and Shintoism if she wishes.

Which brings me to the main topic of this article: How can we discuss sensitive matters openly, without being deemed offensive, politically incorrect (culturally insensitive), or __phobic?

On being offensive

I did a quick Google search of “offensive to” in ‘news’. A few articles came up:

“The everything-is-offensive brand of campus activism has struck a new low: Students at the University of Minnesota killed a proposed moment of silence for 9/11 victims due to concerns—insulting, childish concerns—that Muslim students would be offended.”
Robby Soave, The Daily Beast

Putnam calls Trump proposal ‘offensive to American values’

“Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam on Tuesday denounced a proposal by Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump to prevent Muslims from entering the country (as being offensive to American values).”

It’s offensive to talk about reducing minimum wage:

“Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo state (Nigeria) says it is offensive for his fellow governors to entertain the thought of reducing workers’ minimum wage.”

We discussed this trend of people taking offense at a recent Libertarian Home meeting. A philosopher who was sitting next to me pointed out how it’s become a power word that often attracts a mob of sympathisers. Being ‘offended’ has much more clout than being ‘angry, ‘upset’; or ‘annoyed’.

Often, people who are offended play victim and bark at the offender like a Maoist bulldog. I’ve come across the term “cry bully” which seems befitting. A Yale student’s remark “I don’t want to debate, I just want you to hear my pain” sums it up.

You can’t have an open discussion with people who are likely offended by what you might say.

On being politically incorrect (and culturally insensitive)

A common theme in this thread of thinking is “cultural sensitivity”. Most often, Caucasian (to be precise, white, Christian, heterosexual men) are told to be sensitive to minority cultures (non-white cultures, women and LGBT). It doesn’t seem to matter if white men are at times numerically in the minority. The white man’s colonial ancestors have dominated the scene for so long, goes the cry, that it’s high time the minorities get paid proper attention. One can sense a strong animosity to white Christian male culture by the PC police.

So we get crazy news like Starbucks abandoning Christmas signs, a university banning yoga classes and schools banning Halloween costumes, all because it’s ‘culturally insensitive’, and politically incorrect.

On being __phobic

Islamaphobic, homophobic, racist, sexist, these are all very strong terms that get thrown at people for being ‘offensive’, ‘politically incorrect’ or ‘culturally insensitive’. Phobia is a mental illness. When a PC police tells you that you are __phobic, effectively what he/she is saying is “you are mentally ill, therefore your opinions are not valid.”

In all three cases, the accuser is saying “shut up, your opinion has no place in this peace-loving, fair and equal society.” They might as well be waving around a little red book.

What happens is people start to self-censor, and people like Trump become very popular for speaking out his mind and making space for honest debate, while he takes the blunt by a PC public, for things people want to say but feel they can’t.

Going back to my questions. I’m hoping my Muslim acquaintance won’t take offense to the questions I have of Islam. I really don’t want to offend her, but who knows what offends anybody? I want to come to a clearer understanding of Islam. It’s a big and hot topic. If we want to stop real racism, we have to be able to talk openly.

If we can more openly talk about sensitive issues without fearing judgement by a thought police, I bet we wouldn’t have gone into Syria so haphazardly, and maybe we can come up with a more peaceful solution to the problem of terrorism. We can do this not least by first clarifying what Islam is, and what it’s not.

Libertarian World Computer Simulation

I just took a “Libertarian Purity Test” that asked me a long list of yes or no questions, many of which I wanted to say “neither” or “it depends”.

Some simple questions were:
“Should the Fed be abolished and replaced with free banking and privately-issued money?” (Yes of course)
“Should all drugs be legalized for adults?” (Yes!)
“Are you against the draft? ” (YES!)

Then, other questions that depended on things like timing :
“Should all of the public lands be privatized? ”
(Eventually, yes, but if this were to happen before anything else, then we’d risk Monsanto buying up Yosemite with its holdings of inflated fiat money and create a GMO zombie zone)

“Should we abolish welfare?”
(Eventually, yes, but this should be done lastly, after a Libertarian society is well in place to be able to take on such people who otherwise would die on the streets.)

We see a diagram of a national budget, and think of ways to cut it, and think what would happen if we cut a little here, a little there, in which order we would do it, what the consequences might be; crash of the market? Jump in homelessness? Social uprising? Rise in entrepreneurship? More money flowing to R&D? Better schools? A rise in morale, especially of the young?

I’m not a techie, not much of a numbers person, but I remember playing a game called Civilisation, and I remember enjoying it. You had to build a civilisation from scratch, and the game incorporated different forms of government you could choose from, and the people of your land reacted differently to it. A different game my brother played was more detailed. In it, you owned an amusement park, and if you increased the amount of salt in the chips at the stall, (and if you put a drinks stall close to it), the sale of drinks went up. Brilliant game.

So, why not a Libertarian Civilisation simulation game? Input the national budget, the population on welfare, on housing, in prison, input all the various social movements, etc? Goal of the game – UK, or US, whatever version, to cut the gov. budget by 100% without letting die or upsetting the population? Happiness rate of 70%, say?
Let’s have the architects of the game be an Austrian economist, a Libertarian think tank, include unbiased historians, scholars of current social / political movements, etc. We need to configure where currently the power lies? (May be easier to track where the money is). How do we shift power? (How will money move, as we cut the budget?)

And on and on. Might be a fun project. What do you think?