The Guardian publishes the ultimate abasement of the Left: an anonymous writer flagellates himself for criticizing Islam

Yesterday the Guardian, which is becoming increasingly worthless except as a source of levity, published a piece by an anonymous author: “‘Alt-right’ online poison nearly turned me into a racist.”  When I first read it I thought it was a joke or a spoof, but knowing the Guardian’s penchant for regressive Leftism, of which this is a prime specimen, I decided it wasn’t a joke. You can be the judge; I’ll discuss it as if it were serious.

“Anonymous” first says that he was a liberal British white man of progressive sentiments who always found racism abhorrent.  But then, against his will, he was sucked into a racist whirlpool: sent down the black “rabbit hole” of alt-rightism by going online after the Brexit “leave” vote. “Anonymous” avers that that his “liberal kneejerk reaction was to be shocked” when he encountered Sam Harris’s criticism of Islam, but the poor man then moved on to others on YouTube, including Milo Yiannopoulos. (As if Harris and Yiannopoulos were in any way comparable! I don’t even think they’ve interacted.) But even Milo was just a gateway drug to more toxic stuff: criticism of feminism, men’s rights activism, and so on. “Anonymous” saw himself becoming an alt-righter himself, and then one day he came to his senses:

For three months I watched this stuff grow steadily more fearful of Islam. “Not Muslims,” they would usually say, “individual Muslims are fine.” But Islam was presented as a “threat to western civilisation”. Fear-mongering content was presented in a compelling way by charismatic people who would distance themselves from the very movement of which they were a part.

. . . On one occasion I even, I am ashamed to admit, very diplomatically expressed negative sentiments on Islam to my wife. Nothing “overtly racist”, just some of the “innocuous” type of things the YouTubers had presented: “Islam isn’t compatible with western civilisation.”

She was taken aback: “Isn’t that a bit … rightwing?”

I justified it: “Well, I’m more a left-leaning centrist. PC culture has gone too far, we should be able to discuss these things without shutting down the conversation by calling people racist, or bigots.”

The indoctrination was complete.

Are you chuckling yet at the notion that criticism of religion is “right-wing” and a form of “indoctrination”?  Well, hang on. For the author, after seeing the light, had to expiate his sins. As I think Peter Boghossian has noted, Regressive Leftism shares some of the traits of religion, including having the Original Sin of being a white male (or of criticizing Islam)—sins for which one must be deeply ashamed, confess to other Regressives, and then expiate by lashing oneself long and hard.  And that’s the just what happened with “Anonymous”:

About a week before the US election, I heard one of these YouTubers use the phrase “red-pilled” – a term from the film The Matrix – in reference to people being awakened to the truth about the world and SJWs. Suddenly I thought: “This is exactly like a cult. What am I doing? I’m turning into an arsehole.”

I unsubscribed and unfollowed from everything, and told myself outright: “You’re becoming a racist. What you’re doing is turning you into a terrible, hateful person.” Until that moment I hadn’t even realised that “alt-right” was what I was becoming; I just thought I was a more open-minded person for tolerating these views.

It would take every swearword under the sun to describe how I now feel about tolerating such content and gradually accepting it as truth. I’ve spent every day since feeling shameful for being so blind and so easily coerced.

As you see, it’s deeply racist to vote “leave” on Brexit (a mistaken vote, I think, but not a racist one), criticize feminism, or ponder men’s rights. And it’s especially racist to criticize Islam.

What kind of world is that man living in, that he has to repudiate the idea (and lash himself for thinking) that “we should be able to discuss these things without shutting down the conversation by calling people racist, or bigots”? No, we must call these people racists and bigots. That, after all, is the ultimate weapon of the Regressive Leftist: the knowledge that other Leftists want to avoid at all costs being typed as a racist. If you use that word, they’ll more that likely shut up. But I’d like to know what’s racist about criticizing ideas.

But in the Church of Regressive Leftism, one can be forgiven, at least for a while, by confession. And so “anonymous” confessed to the Guardian‘s readers, and plans to confess to his wife:

. . . It’s clear this terrible ideology has now gone mainstream.

It hit me like a ton of bricks. Online radicalisation of young white men. It’s here, it’s serious, and I was lucky to be able to snap out of it when I did. And if it can get somebody like me to swallow it – a lifelong liberal – I can’t imagine the damage it is doing overall.

It seemed so subtle – at no point did I think my casual and growing Islamophobia was genuine racism. The good news for me is that my journey toward the alt-right was mercifully brief: I never wanted to harm or abuse anybody verbally, it was all very low level – a creeping fear and bigotry that I won’t let infest me again. But I suspect you could, if you don’t catch it quickly, be guided into a much more overt and sinister hatred.

I haven’t yet told my wife that this happened, and I honestly don’t know how to. I need to apologise for what I said and tell her that I certainly don’t believe it. It is going to be a tough conversation and I’m not looking forward to it. I didn’t think this could happen to me. But it did and it will haunt me for a long time to come.

What a weenie!

Now does that sound like a joke to you? It would to normal people, but these people aren’t normal. Because of the cognitive dissonance they experience when two liberal values clash (concern for the underdog and concern for free speech and women’s rights), “anonymous” has been turned into a craven, sniveling joke who’s resolve his dissonance by throwing freedom of expression under the bus. The man can’t even distinguish between Sam Harris’s (and other people’s) criticism of Islam and the real Islamophobia that is bigotry against individual Muslims. Nor does he see that Muslims are not a race, but adherents to a particular faith, though of course their beliefs are diverse. Anonymous will confess to her wife (in a “tough conversation”; what kind of woman is that?) and say that it’s taboo to even consider that the tenets of Islam may be incompatible with Western civilization. Some thoughts must not be thought; some discussions must not be had. All that, of course, comes from fear that you’ll be branded a racist.

The article discredits itself, but the fact that the Guardian published it shows the dangers of Regressive Leftism. Those are the dangers of authoritarianism, of the suppression of free speech as “racist speech,” and the danger that, when these people get in positions of power, the Left will become afraid to discuss touchy issues lest they be branded racists and bigots.

Here’s some further expiation: “Anonymous” refused remuneration, probably as a further form of penance. Here’s the note at the end of his article:



  1. Posted November 29, 2016 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    “War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength.”

    The notion that belief in free-thought / free-speech / open debate is a form of indoctrination makes my brain hurt.

  2. Posted November 29, 2016 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    As Sam Harris has pointed out, ad nauseum: Islam is not a race. Muslim is not a race.

    Muslims can look (and be, ethnically):
    East Asian (in Sinkiang, Afghanistan, elsewhere)
    African (all over Africa, e.g. Nigeria, Somalia, USA, elsewhere)
    White (Chechnya, the Balkans, elsewhere)
    Arab (all over the Middle East)
    Egyptian (Egypt and elsewhere)
    Southeast Asian (Indonesia, Malaysia, Burma, Thailand)
    Turkish (Turkey, central Asia)
    Iranian (Iran, central and south Asia)

    So the charge of racism is spurious, event to he extent that someone may view Muslims as “brown”.)

    Ideas must compete in the marketplace of ideas (meme pool).

    Islam has a lot of bad ideas, like most religion. It has a few more or less uniquely bad ones, such as martyrdom and jihad.

    Criticizing bad ideas isn’t just OK, it’s required to maintain a sane society. It’s a necessity.

  3. Posted November 29, 2016 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    I read the article the other day and just concluded it was complete tosh, unwilling to take the time to repudiate it like PCCe. It’s not surprising that comments are not enabled for the piece. The opprobrium was have been fierce.

    • Posted November 29, 2016 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      I’d have been interested to see what the Guardian readers made of it. Many such readers are more pro-atheism and hostile to religion than the paper itself. That’s why they don’t allow comments on such things nowadays.

      • DiscoveredJoys
        Posted November 29, 2016 at 10:01 am | Permalink

        Comments are rarely enabled on controversial pieces and when they are enabled they are quickly closed if the comments appear to disagree with the article.

        The *could* be a sign that the Guardian cannot afford enough moderators, but in my opinion the Guardian opposes the ‘wrong kind’ of free speech.

        I was modded a few days ago for pointing out that the world crises that George Monbiot was worried about would all be easier to solve if there were fewer people. I even said I wasn’t in favour of inhumane actions, but someone somewhere didn’t like my comment…

        • Posted November 29, 2016 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

          As I like to repeat, all crisis related to the environment require reaching zero (and then negative) global population growth. However, this simple idea is taboo because it requires saying that non-white, non-Christian people should have fewer children. There are many leftists who care very, very much about the fate of our poor planet, but not enough to risk being branded racists and Islamophobes :-).

          • Filippo
            Posted November 29, 2016 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

            I look forward to the day when some notable capitalist (and the Pope) acknowledges that the Earth has a limited carrying capacity.

            • Posted November 30, 2016 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

              And also some economist. As one of them, K. Boulding, said, “Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist.”

          • Carl
            Posted November 29, 2016 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

            Malthus started predicting this sort of thing in 1798. His charts and graphs showed the crunch would come in the 19th century. He was wrong and neo-Malthusians continue to get it wrong. Even with today’s greatly multiplied population, there is more food per person than ever. There is less grinding poverty. Human creativity has overcome our problems in the past and there is no reason to think that won’t continue. Something really did change in the Enlightenment. As David Deutsch* points out: Progress that was both rapid enough to be noticed and stable enough to continue over many generations was achieved for the only time in the history of our species.

            The pessimists have always been wrong. I’m cheered by their track record.

            *Deutsch, David. The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations That Transform the World . Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

            • steve
              Posted November 30, 2016 at 5:32 am | Permalink

              There is no way to defeat exponential growth on a static-sized planet.

              Pessimist or not.

              Take one bacterium and double it every 20 minutes (binary fission)

              Keep doing this for about three days.

              Multiply the number of bacteria you get by their average individual mass.

              Compare this number to the earth’s mass.

              Understand the power of exponential growth.

              • jeremy pereira
                Posted November 30, 2016 at 7:30 am | Permalink

                There is no way to defeat exponential growth on a static-sized planet.

                Yes there is. That should be obvious to you if you consider your own example and why the Earth is not composed entirely of bacteria.

              • Carl
                Posted November 30, 2016 at 10:28 am | Permalink

                If you want the long answer, read the Deutsch book. Meanwhile, contemplate the excellent response given by jeremy pereira.

            • Filippo
              Posted November 30, 2016 at 5:45 am | Permalink

              Would that Malthus had benefit of 21st century hindsight based on scientific/technological advances.

              Would you agree with Malthusians that the Earth has a limited carrying capacity, whatever that is?

              • Carl
                Posted November 30, 2016 at 10:43 am | Permalink

                Of course, there is some limit to the population the Earth will support. That limit won’t even be approached before late in this century when population peaks and starts to decline.

                What pessimists fail to realize, is that our knowledge and ability to overcome problems continues to grow. There is no guarantee of a bright future for humanity, but all the signs point that way.

            • somer
              Posted November 30, 2016 at 10:35 am | Permalink

              Molecular Biologist and Demographer Robert Wyman of Yale University would very much beg to differ as would the vast majority of demographers. Human population is stabilising but slowly. Technology can assist but there definitely are limits. Way too many people (bottom 2/5ths) still live in crushing poverty and when global economic growth is taken into consideration their $ take home pay has actually slightly declined in the last 20 years. Re modern agriculture – Phosphate cold actually run out in the net 20 years. The signs of environmental stress of human activity are of great concern and this is settled in the scientific community.

              • Carl
                Posted November 30, 2016 at 11:28 am | Permalink

                somer, you say “technology can assist, but there are definite limits.” That’s the kind of statement made repeatedly in the past and proven to be nonsense. You have no idea what technology will exist tomorrow. Consider all the things we have now, that could not have been imagined in 1900 or 1950. Even since 2000 there have been unforeseen advances, like vastly improved water desalinization techniques that will economically turn sea water to fresh.

                Your numbers are outdated. The percentage of people living in crushing poverty has continually declined since the Industrial Revolution. Even the absolute numbers peaked in 1970, and have since been cut in half. In Malthus’s day close to 100% of the world was this poor. Now it’s about 10%.


                Of course people “stress” the environment. The point is we have overcome these problems in the past and there is no reason to believe we won’t in the future. Instead of relying on Robert Wyman, try Steven Pinker or David Deutsch.

                In a nutshell, all the Cassandras of the past have been able to imagine problems, but not solutions.

            • Posted November 30, 2016 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

              True. But there are also more extinct species than ever, more destroyed ecosystems than ever, more pollution than ever, and more abrupt climate change than ever.

              Pessimists have not always been wrong. They were right during the drying of Sahara, the Bronze Age Collapse, the Peloponnesian War, the Fall of Rome, the Fall of Constantinople, the Age of Exploration (I mean the native pessimists), and every single genocide. You can add to the list.

              • Carl
                Posted November 30, 2016 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

                Yet, since the Enlightenment, humanity is better off overall in nearly every conceivable way: health, wealth, freedom, comfort, and ease of making a living.

                The genocides were at the hands of distinctly anti-Enlightenment ideologies. There is one such ideology (along with the fellow travelers who refuse to see it) present today that is truly worrying, but I expect it will be overcome.

              • Posted November 30, 2016 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

                I hope you are right.

      • GM
        Posted November 30, 2016 at 9:31 am | Permalink

        Sadly, most of the sane readers have been driven out after getting repeatedly banned for disagreeing with the party line.

        When I look at a thread these days, there is a lot less disagreement with the BS above the line than in the past.

        Which means that the effort to cleanse the comment section has been a “success”

  4. Kisanet Beyene
    Posted November 29, 2016 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    Jerry, this article is a spoof a la Alan Sokal’s paper. The fact that it got published as a serious piece shows how far gone the Guardian is.

    Will be interesting to see who the author is, when he/she decides to reveal him/herself.

    • Posted November 29, 2016 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      Are you sure it’s a spoof? How do you know? Searching online, I find no indication it’s a spoof. And even if it is, people don’t see it’s a spoof, which shows not only what you said, but how far gone the Regressive Left is.

      Certainly P.Z. Myers at Pharyngula took it seriously, writing a post about it and adding:

      Speaking of introspection and examining ourselves, here’s someone else who was radicalized by a social movement — in this case, the dark side of atheism. Sam Harris, Dave Rubin, Thunderf00t, Christopher Hitchens…these guys are gateways to the normalization of hatred.

      Finally, if it was a spoof, the Guardian should have fessed up by now.

      • Kisanet Beyene
        Posted November 29, 2016 at 9:57 am | Permalink

        Wow, PZ Myers praises this ???????? Unbelievable.

        The Guardian hasn’t fessed up because they are in a bind — they were duped and don’t want to admit it until the author reveals him/herself.

        If it is a spoof (and I’d say 99%) then the whole point would be to expose people who were fooled by it. Since this can only be done if the author comes forward after several days, I predict we’ll know the name of the author very soon! 🙂

        • GM
          Posted November 30, 2016 at 9:36 am | Permalink

          Wow, PZ Myers praises this ???????? Unbelievable.

          Why do you think it’s unbelievable?

          The man went full-on SJW-retard years ago, has implemented one of the most cartoonishly draconian censorship regimes ever seen on his blog, and rants about imaginary oppression every other day.

          If anything, it seems entirely appropriate

      • DiscoveredJoys
        Posted November 29, 2016 at 10:04 am | Permalink

        My best guess is that it is not a ‘spoof’ but a pastiche of opinions made into a favoured narrative.

        • Kisanet Beyene
          Posted November 29, 2016 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

          I should have said the purpose is to expose people who agree with/praise the article, not people who were fooled by it ….. I think in the era of Trump anybody can be forgiven for taking everything at face value.

          • Posted November 29, 2016 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

            Trump can be blamed for many things, but hardly for the fact that the Guardian publishes such stuff.

      • Posted November 29, 2016 at 11:53 am | Permalink

        P.Z. likes it, naturally. But take Thunderf00t: he’s anti-brexit, anti-Trump and consistently stressed that science would suffer from these decisions. Others in the anti-SJW corner are pro-brexit or even pro-Trump. This shows just how feverish the “othering” has become. Essentially, everyone opposing the SJW plague is “alt right” now: Brexit or Bremain, Trump or Sanders, Religious or Anti-Theistic. It matters only whether you accept identity politics (Critical Race Theory) into your heart.

        At the same time, we see how Alt Right now means fascism, which is charged up from the other side, too. The lesson is: what has been done in atheism-skepticism (and video games etc) is now done in the mainstream.

        1. Appropriate a name, or invent a term.
        2. Apply the term to everyone who ideologically disagrees with a specific ideology
        3. Charge up the new term by adding extreme examples or amplify extreme positions as allegedly representative of the group.

        Of course “SJW” is also such a term, but its difference is that it means a specific movement of intersectionality, safe space, cultural appropriation, trigger warnings and the like, which can be traced to a particular postmodern tradition, and which manifests itself in a particular way (P.Z. faction is a good example).

      • Posted November 29, 2016 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

        Godfrey Elfwick has admitted to writing this spoof.

        • moleatthecounter
          Posted November 30, 2016 at 5:28 am | Permalink

          Yep, looks like the Guardian has been trolled!

    • Posted November 29, 2016 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      My immediate though on reading the op ed in the Guardian was that it was a fake and that The Guardian, in its dedication to all things PC, had been fooled. THe author carefully the appropriate words and examples, so carefully in fact that he/she clearly had researched the whole PC/racism debate for the correct form and content. It is, however, not as amusing as Sokal’s Hoax (the fraudulence of which I detected about
      eight pages into my reading of it, after which I laughed my way to the end). Now we have to ask ourselves just high a price we have paid (getting Trump as president) for discrediting PC. But let us give thanks for little things. And for people like Nick Cohen, Douglas Murray and Hugh Fitzgerald for keeping clear heads so ours don’t get muddled. And for Jerry Coyne’s sharp eyes and skepticism, though I am still doubtful about his doubts about Standing Rock).

  5. Adam
    Posted November 29, 2016 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    I usually find The Guardian to be a reliable resource for actual news. Their opinion and analysis pieces I take with a grain of salt and only to gauge the landscape of sentiment surrounding an issue. The whyevolutionistrue blog is a great navigational aid that I rely on to help direct me to a dispassionate view. Since I am deeply interested in supporting the efforts of those who strive for true journalistic integrity, are there current sources you can recommend?

    • Dick Veldkamp
      Posted November 29, 2016 at 9:19 am | Permalink

      From pieces like this we should not conclude that the Guardian is rubbish as a whole.

      In my opnion, the Guardian is generally a high quality newspaper, for example climate change coverage is excellent.

    • DiscoveredJoys
      Posted November 29, 2016 at 10:09 am | Permalink

      They report some news well but they are usually slow to report anything that might tarnish the reputation of minority groups. And the corresponding opinion pieces usually try to find excuses or mitigation for groups carrying out sexual abuse or terrorist activities.

    • Adam
      Posted November 29, 2016 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      Thanks for your responses. Can either of you recommend additional sources that could use my support? I am looking for more reputable sources on which to spend my subscription budget. Of course, I can search, but such searches result in the same unqualified mess of results, some of which do not appear to be so objective in their reporting. (Sort of like how a search for “fair and balanced news” would return, among others, Fox News.) 😉

      • Larry
        Posted November 29, 2016 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

        I will offer one recommendation to you – Democracy Now, at

        Amy Goodman is the host and is an investigative journalist. A leftist news source with much credibility, and very good interviews.

    • Posted November 29, 2016 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      It’s difficult to find journals or media with “true journalistic integrity” but there are individual critics, scholars and authors, of whom Nick Cohen, Douglas Murray and Hugh Fitzgerald comprise the best in the English-speaking world. For the Islam debate, I personally rely on Robert Spencer and the ex-Muslims like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Nonie Darwish, Wafa Sultan, Ibn Warraq, and for Muslims I rely on Dr. Zuhdi Jasser of course. Mark Lilla’s recent NY Times op ed was exemplary and authoritative. Dissent magazine is almost alone in daring to criticize the left though Jedediah Purdy, its hard leftist anti-environmental writer,
      taints their masthead, as did a biased article on Ecuador that failed to point out the suppression of Ecuador media and harassment to the point of physical threats against individual investigative journalists like Fernando Villavicencio and activists like Carlos Zorilla.

  6. dabertini
    Posted November 29, 2016 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    I’m beginning to realize that most people are like anonymous. Criticism of religion as indoctrination?!! Please!!

  7. Posted November 29, 2016 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    While I am certain that the Guardian editors are perfectly happy with this kind of writing, given their record of publishing moronic lies against ex-Muslims and atheists and then refusing to publish any corrections, but I can’t help but also notice that it functions as great clickbait for them too.

  8. eric
    Posted November 29, 2016 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Spoof or not, these bits got under my skin:

    It would take every swearword under the sun to describe how I now feel about tolerating such content…

    Notice how tolerating it is set up as evil. Now look, if the KKK marches down my street I’m going to protest their ideology just as any decent person would. But I tolerate them marching. And in fact I’m proud to live in a country where we tolerate such expression. Tolerating other people speaking their mind is not something to swear about, its a good thing to do. By all means disagree with what they say, but this guy sounds like he wants to swear against their right to say it.

    I’ve spent every day since feeling shameful for being so blind and so easily coerced.

    You weren’t coerced. You browsed the web and kept clicking on links that interested you. Were you manipulated by clickbait? Maybe. Fooled, tricked by deceptive advertising and engaging rhetoric? Maybe. But not coerced. This is just more victim-myth-making. You weren’t a victim. The authors of those web pages didn’t do anything wrong to you, and nobody coerced you into anything.

  9. Mike
    Posted November 29, 2016 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Islam is a threat to Western Civilisation, of that there is no doubt.

    • Kevin
      Posted November 29, 2016 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      Science is corrosive to Islam (and all religions). And that’s a good thing for our whole civilization.

      • Posted November 29, 2016 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

        It was during the European Enlightenment, but I do not see such corrosive action in modern times.

        • Carl
          Posted November 29, 2016 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

          Look more closely. The light cast by philosophy and science has continued its corrosive effect on religion from the 17th century through to the present. Religion now is nothing like religion then. Unfortunately, many Islamic parts of the world remain in shadow.

          Give people Spinoza, Hume, Hobbes, and Locke in their native language and see what happens.

      • somer
        Posted November 30, 2016 at 6:17 am | Permalink

        Major world catastrophes or wars could easily overturn science and the liberal parts of the Enlightenment. There’s global warming. But theres also thousands of little and great tribal hatreds against and within the west itself.
        And theres global Islamic feeling against the West. Theres the delectable narcissist sociopath Trump who has often expressed admiration of dictators and talks of siding with Assad (though he has too many investments in the region i think to go military with Assad I hope) to set the Sunni world afire against us then attack Iran and …. nightmare.

        I always feel insecure about the return of more traditionalist values, my feeling is we can never take the continuing faith in science for granted. Economic harshness is nothing like it was before WW2 but to speak to many regressives you’d never know.

        But any economy is hard – including super complex ones and skills as required to keep advanced economies afloat and its hard work. There has still been an economic downturn and that makes people less friendly to social change that isn’t economic, and also more conscious of borders. And September 11 has fed into that. And when people have pressing threats to their security – as Poland vis a vis Russia having moved its missiles to the border – people tend to get more religious. Already there is a turn amongst many young people throughout the western world against democracy. And older people are openly admiring “strongman” figures too – even most in the traditionally more working class areas in Sydney (Aust) like Trump and we have had a rise in extremist right wing groups not seen before. The insanity of the Trump election, fundamentalists in USA and nationalists in Europe/UK show this. There is a very disturbing polarisation going on.

        I think our emphasis on ideologies that are fixed don’t accommodate economic changes to provide for changing international climate whilst being focussed on the ordinary populace. This creates unrealistic expectations or irritates people with irrelevant theory. Ideologies also have International Relations consequences and they stem from the metaphysical aspects of philosophy

        Language cannot be scientific – it is never mathematical in nature and attempts to define human behaviour in some high theory full of generalisations purporting to science is the problem – i.e. philosophy aspiring to this clashes with science but its very influential – from Hegels militarism and Laissez faire economic presumptions about society to Marx, Gramsci, Crit theory, post modernism and the rest.

        Russia isn’t stupid – Putin wouldn’t do anything to provoke war but his propaganda and actions and people close to him have expressed a desire to fundamentally destabilise and weaken the West, through ending Nato and destabilising or hollowing out the USA economically, politically and military. Americas Evangelicals,have been amongst the most helpful in that.

        Right now the French appear to be choosing between two pro Putin candidates and both imagine that the US exploits the french economy and they should reduce bilateral ties. Which together with brexit and trump could finish NATO. Both superpowers have vastly modernised their weapons stock. The west and russia have both been pouring weapons into places and there has been a spread of nuclear weapons countries. China has become much more assertive – a 2000 km pipleline and port being built by it in Pakistan – plans for island bases in 3 arcs in the pacific – the outer one as close to US as hawaii.

  10. Historian
    Posted November 29, 2016 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    I am writing this under the assumption that the article is not a spoof. But, I have a different take on whether Anonymous should be criticized for changing his mind on whether Islam is a threat to western civilization. In other words, is holding this view a legitimate criticism of Islam as a religion? If you believe this then the adherents of Islam are a threat. This is the same as saying that Nazism is a threat. In both cases, it takes the adherents to the ideology to spread it and put into effect its tenets.

    The view that Islam (apparently in whatever form it takes) is a threat to western civilization is a bedrock principle of the far right. There is no subtlety or nuance in this view. It logically follows from this premise that the threat can best be resisted by removing the adherents of Islam from the country. Of course, this is what Trump’s most loyal supporters want to do. Just as during World War II when American Nazis were suppressed because they were working in the interests of a foreign power, adherents of Islam in this country should be removed because they are working for a cause (whether they know it or not) that threatens the values of this country.

    Although others may accept the far right’s characterization of Islam, I don’t criticize Anonymous for ultimately rejecting this view. He no longer accepts the simplistic utterances of the far right. This action on his part does not mean he has suddenly fallen under the sway of regressive leftism. It simply means that he no longer sees Islam as inherently an existential threat to western civilization.

    • Posted November 29, 2016 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      It simply means that he no longer sees Islam as inherently an existential threat to western civilization.

      The problem is that the values of mainstream Islam simply are incompatible with those of the West. And since Islam is a major force in the world and is a proselytising and expansionist religion, that makes it a threat to the West.

      • Historian
        Posted November 29, 2016 at 10:03 am | Permalink

        Based on your viewpoint, do you support deporting all Muslims from this country, thus vastly reducing the threat of Islam to Western values?

        • Posted November 29, 2016 at 10:04 am | Permalink

          … do you support deporting all Muslims …

          No I don’t.

        • jasonlbrooke
          Posted November 30, 2016 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

          And there you have it – yet another example of a confused liberal. Assumes that when we criticise a bad idea, we must want to take physical action against proponents of or adherents to the idea.


          I welcome people from any part of the world to live by me – we’re all fellow humans, aren’t we? I don’t care what you look like, where you come from and I even forgive you for not being as dashingly good looking as me (it’s not your fault). I detest the idea of people being ostracised for irrational reasons like ethnicity and sexual or religious preference.

          Be prepared to have your idea challenged though, as I’m prepared to have mine challenged.

          That’s it.

      • eric
        Posted November 29, 2016 at 10:18 am | Permalink

        The problem is that the values of mainstream Islam simply are incompatible with those of the West

        So are the 10 commandments. But since very few Christians go around trying to enforce them at the point of a sword, we don’t say Christianity is incompatible with western values. IOW when it comes to Christianity, we make a pragmatic judgment based in part on how its followers act, rather than making a purely theoretical judgment based strictly and only on what the book says. I think its perfectly reasonable to take the same approach to Islam. In fact, I think it would be exceptionalism not to take the same approach.

        So now the question becomes whether Muslims in the west are about as theocratically coercive as Christians, or moreso, or less so. ‘The west’ is not a single homogenous place, so I won’t speak for every country. But there are 2.8 million Muslims in the US. Let’s take a very conservative approach and cite the Heritage Foundation’s own numbers on radical islamic terrorism; they report 60 attacks since 911. Counting the 20 folks involved in 911 and two per incident since then, that’s a rate of about 0.33 Islamic “enforcers” per 100,000 per year.

        That, IMO, does not make Muslims in the US very theocratically coercive at all. Certainly not enough to count as “a threat to western civilization.”

        • Posted November 29, 2016 at 10:32 am | Permalink

          Sure, agreed, so let’s make a pragmatic evaluation of whether, in practice, Islamic nations allow free speech, including tolerating apostasy and blasphemy. The answer is that they don’t. Thus, by your own test, mainstream Islam is incompatible with Western values.

          That, IMO, does not make Muslims in the US very theocratically coercive at all. Certainly not enough to count as “a threat to western civilization.”

          Muslims in the US are a teeny portion of Muslims worldwide, about 0.1% of them. I agree, that’s not enough to count as “a threat to western civilization”, but then add in the other 99.9%.

          • eric
            Posted November 29, 2016 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

            so let’s make a pragmatic evaluation of whether, in practice, Islamic nations allow free speech

            Nice goal post shifting. The question was whether Islam is incompatible with western values. Citing how non-western Muslim governments behave is as irrelevant as asking whether the government of the Vatican has a bill of rights that protects freedom of speech. It doesn’t. Its not even a democracy! So therefore according to your logic, Catholicism isn’t compatible.

            IMO that would be a silly way of doing the compatibility assessment. We judge RCC compatibility with US culture and law by looking at how American Catholics behave. They are generally law abiding. They do not try and coerce others to be Catholic. So we judge it compatible. If that’s the method we use to assess Christianity’s compatibility with US law and culture, then that’s the method we should use to assess Islam’s compatibility with it too. Right?

            • Posted November 29, 2016 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

              We judge RCC compatibility with US culture and law by looking at how American Catholics behave.

              Sure, and we should judge Islam’s compatibility with Western values by seeing how Muslims behave when they are a dominant force in a society.

              There are plenty of nations where Catholics dominate where one can apply the same test.

        • Posted November 29, 2016 at 10:40 am | Permalink

          By the way, if you want to assess whether mainstream Islam is “theologically coercive”, don’t look at a nation where Muslims compose 1% of the population, look at nations where they are in the majority.

          • Posted November 29, 2016 at 11:22 am | Permalink

            I am in total agreement.
            Look at parts of Europe, the U.K. is an example, there the influence of Islam in certain communities compared to even twenty years ago is significant.

        • Posted November 29, 2016 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

          There are well over 30,000 DOCUMENTED Islamist terrorist attacks since 9/11. That most of these take place abroad rather than in the US is a matter of geography and socio-political factors. I pride myself on being one of the least paranoid people on earth but my readings and research on Islam and terrorism since 9/11 have convinced me that the threat of Islam (primarily to western Europe) is in fact one of the two greatest threats to civilization extant, the other being climate change. Given Muslim overbreeding, complacent if not blind governments, distorted notions of what constitutes humanitarianism, and denial of culture, history and national pride, I see nothing but Islam conquering western Europe within the next century. Muslims are patient and do not put a time frame on converting and/or conquering the unbelievers. Every time they get special treatment they move ahead on the path to Islamo-fascism. Europeans need to stop rewarding Muslims and need to put the preservation of Enlightenment values ahead of giving alms to those who have announced their desire to
          take over the entire nonMuslim world. The failure of the left to confront the validity of the threat is the DIRECT cause of the resurgence of the right and the extreme nationalists. As Jonathan Pie said, it is
          the LEFT that is to blame. And many of us said this over a decade ago.Va ffanculo, sinistro.

          • Posted November 29, 2016 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

            + 1. And I think that all of Europe will fall, not just Western Europe.

          • Carl
            Posted November 29, 2016 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

            Good analysis. Maybe if people take it to heart, your prediction won’t be so good. Christianity was tamed, Islam can be too.

          • Filippo
            Posted November 29, 2016 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

            Re: the recent Ohio State knife attack by the young Somali male (most of his life raised in Pakistan). Whatever his legitimate grievances regarding abuse of Muslims, how did he possibly think his action would ameliorate the situation?

      • Posted November 29, 2016 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

        + 1

    • Pirkka Jokela
      Posted November 29, 2016 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      The way I read the article, I understood that Anonymous rejected everything he had learned all the way to Sam Harris. Then he put fingers in his ears and started chanting LA LAA LAA LAA.

      His views after his experiment did not seem any more nuanced or informed then in the beginning. He is even sorry for having made this “trip,” even though I would say he has learned something important and his liberal values should now be on more solid footing then before.

    • Taz
      Posted November 29, 2016 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      He no longer accepts the simplistic utterances of the far right. This action on his part does not mean he has suddenly fallen under the sway of regressive leftism.

      I would say that the fact he accepts simplistic utterances doesn’t bode well no matter what particular ideology he’s consuming. He certainly paints a picture of himself as someone with little mental fortitude.

  11. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted November 29, 2016 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Besides being a spoof or a somewhat true description, it could be simply a lie intended to reinforce togetherness with a group. Like the many ‘I used to be an atheist, but now I am saved…’ stories.

  12. Bernardo
    Posted November 29, 2016 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    What happened to The Guardian?? It used to be a decent newspaper until Brexit, I reckon. Maybe they changed their editors?

    • Posted November 29, 2016 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      The Guardian ceased to represent the Left, or reality, at least a decade ago.

  13. Posted November 29, 2016 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    Shocking stuff
    I see that this radicalised Guardianista actually went so far as to “very diplomatically express[ed] negative sentiments on Islam ..”
    We must stop wasting time targeting radicalised Muslims who are, after all, only planning and carrying out acts of terrorism, beheading journalists and aid workers and committing genocide and instead concentrate on this new and pernicious threat.
    Sam Harris must also be silenced immediately; who knows where this can lead…..

  14. Dennis Stevens
    Posted November 29, 2016 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    So the guy listened to opinions different from his own but ultimately rejected them. The idea that seriously considering different opinions is a personal failure is pretty disturbing.

  15. Ken Kukec
    Posted November 29, 2016 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    Not exactly “Confessions of a Hitler Youth,” is it?

    I doubt it is a joke (and, if it is, it lacks the requisite comedic exaggeration). But it isn’t a legitimate confessional, either. It’s a phony cautionary tale, coughed up by an unwavering regressive hiding behind “Anonymous.”

  16. Posted November 29, 2016 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    As someone who until recently spent a lot of time in the youtube “atheist” community. I have to say there is a lot of truth, in that setting, to what this guy is saying. He obviously goes too far, and is overly dramatic. CultofDusty explains the phenominon fairly well in his videoHow The Alt-Right Took Over The Skeptic Community

    • Pirkka Jokela
      Posted November 29, 2016 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      I liked the beginning of the article. You really can watch Sam Harris on youtube and by following the suggested videos, in about 5 steps, you end with the darkest alt-right crap where people say Obama and Clinton are demons. Literally demons. That is a problem and it is important to keep your brain on when looking at the suggested videos.

      That said. After Anonymous realised he was being drawn in to this racist movement, he backtracked all the way, denounced all he had learned and vowed never again to question the fact that Islam is the religion of peace. This I do not like.

      Dusty is right that the youtubers need new enemies to bash in their videos, but I think he is kind of doing the same by lumping everyone else in to alt-right. We really need to use our brains more, consider what we see and hear carefully and not forget our humanity while doing that.

      (And the alt-right is not an atheist movement.)

      • Posted November 29, 2016 at 11:42 am | Permalink

        “That said. After Anonymous realised he was being drawn in to this racist movement, he backtracked all the way, denounced all he had learned and vowed never again to question the fact that Islam is the religion of peace. This I do not like.”

        Yes I agree he goes too far there, and I think Dusty goes too far in “lumping everyone else in to alt-right”, but the trend within the youtube skeptic community is a real one. And anonymous’s experience resonates with me.

    • Posted November 29, 2016 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      In my experience, too. Authors or channels are bigger nodes in a social network, and it’s true that when you follow the trail in one direction, you quickly end up in some spooky corner. Apparently, users move around in a larger area, and YouTube suggests bigger channels in that corner, but doesn’t care about political boundaries. It’s arguably special interest driven, rather than holistic. A special interest is “anti SJW”.

      Another effect is that delusions of some group, whether they are believers or SJW, tend to manifest themselves. The latter believe in “with us or against us” and that way, over time, created a set of “against us” who have otherwise little else in common but the same opponent in the SJWs.

    • Simon
      Posted November 29, 2016 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

      You spent how much time in the youtube atheist community? That video of CultofDusty is so completely and utterly clueless it is difficult to be more wrong. It is ‘Reefer Madness’ level of wrong. For one thing, the alt-right, whatever that really is outside of the new go to label for anyone disagreeing with an SJW, has not taken over the skeptic movement. What actually happened was that critical theory spouting entryist gender warriors attempted to take over the ‘skeptic movement’ with their rape culture victimhood narrative, managed to cow everyone into silence for a while, and are now getting the appropriate pushback. Alt-right is now their latest thought terminating label to apply to the pushers back.

      • Carl
        Posted November 29, 2016 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

        Wonderful metaphor:

        It is ‘Reefer Madness’ level of wrong.

        • Posted November 29, 2016 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

          I’m hardly surprised you’d chime in Carl. You, and Simon are each other’s Greek chorus.

          • Carl
            Posted November 29, 2016 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

            I take that as a compliment. You should be happy everyone here isn’t singing in the hallelujah chorus. How boring would that be?

      • Posted November 29, 2016 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

        Simon I don’t know how you can possibly tolerate the reasonable, nuanced, criticism of SJWs, and the regressive left discussed on this site. If you think the “pushback” on youtube is reasonable you MUST by comparison think we’re all at best borderline sjws because we don’t all call ourselves anti-feminists, don’t all argue that systemic racism, and sexism no longer exist, and don’t all support deporting all muslims.

        • Carl
          Posted November 29, 2016 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

          Mike, I haven’t watched the videos you have, so my impressions come from what I read on this site. I wouldn’t call you and some others “borderline SJWs,” but you certainly seem to lean further in that direction than I do. Racism, sexism, antisemitism, and other forms of bigotry are not what they once were. We have a black President and gay marriage is legal throughout the land. Words like “racism” are so inappropriately used that they have lost meaning and can’t be taken at face value, and that is sad.

          • Posted November 29, 2016 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

            Maybe the problem is a matter of your ignorance as to what’s happening in the youtube skeptic community, where people like TheAmazingAtheist, and Thunderfoot have become voices of reason. And where Sam Harris was largely condemned for his support for Hillary as the lesser of two evils. He himself has expressed his dismay at the number of alt-right types he’s attracted. I disagree that he’s “attracted” them, they’ve been “radicalized” by those within his circle of support.

            • Carl
              Posted November 29, 2016 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

              I plead guilty. I have no idea who Thunderfoot or TheAmazingAtheist are. And I don’t consider myself a skeptic – not about religion in all the forms I’m aware of, anymore than I’m a skeptic when it comes to Biblical Creationism. I reject self descriptions like “skeptic” and “agnostic” as mealy mouthed. I’m certain as one can be in a world where absolute certainty cannot exist outside math and formal logic.

              As for Sam Harris’s support of Hillary Clinton as the lesser of two evils, he did more to sway me to that view than anyone except Trump. I have only contempt for anyone who holds that against him. As I would have a lot less respect for Harris if he claimed “Hillary is great, vote for her, she deserves it.”

              • Posted November 29, 2016 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

                “I plead guilty. I have no idea who Thunderfoot or TheAmazingAtheist are.”

                Given that, and for the sake of clarity I want to point out that both of them were at one point among the most extreme in the youtube skeptic “community” in terms of their anti-feminism, anti-Islam, anti-BLM rhetoric. The community as a whole has since morphed so far to the right in response to a relatively small group of SJWs with small numbers of subscribers, that they are now among the more reasonable anti’s. While still being far more extreme than a Sam Harris, or PCC.

              • Posted November 29, 2016 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

                Mike, what’s wrong with being anti-Islam? I’m not really interested in what Thunderfoot etc. think.

              • Carl
                Posted November 29, 2016 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

                Mike, you and I seem destined to disagree on almost everything. I favor the Christina Hoff Sommers style of feminism. I am anti any ideology that thinks apostasy, homosexuality, and blasphemy should be criminal acts (let alone deserve the death penalty). I’ll leave it for Muslims to say whether that makes me anti-Islam. Black Lives Matter no doubt contains many people whose views I disagree with. I’m particularly bothered by condemnation of police officers solely on the basis of skin color, before any other facts are known.

    • Historian
      Posted November 29, 2016 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

      I was not aware of Dusty Smith, aka “CultofDusty” until I linked to the video that you cited. His main argument is that the skeptic community has fallen under the sway of the Alt-Right movement, which has now become obsessed with Social Justice Warriors and feminists. I do not know to what extent he is correct in characterizing the skeptic community. But he is certainly correct that Trump is a much greater threat to the health of American society by a very large factor than anything Social Justice Warriors are likely to do. Our focus should be on the danger that he represents. While Social Justice Warriors are often irksome, they are of minor importance compared to Trump and his religious fanatic vice-president, Mike Pence.

      • Carl
        Posted November 29, 2016 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

        Maybe Trump is the greater danger, we will find out. But the SJW penetration into our higher education system is not something to dismiss. If our colleges turn out a couple generations of stunted intellectual weaklings, it won’t be pretty. We will be easy prey for foreign enemies and domestic demagogues spewing Trump-inspired rhetoric. A perfect storm.

  17. Sandman
    Posted November 29, 2016 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    This can be summed up thus:

    Man lives in bubble, steps out of bubble, finds he agrees with some things from outside the bubble, gets criticised for holding views outside of bubble by people living in the bubble and so retreats back into bubble.

    The article makes a mockery of people, particularly guardian readers, looking for and agreeing with ideas outside of the guardians own leftist ones. Essentially, ‘believe what we do or you are racist and a bad person and people you love will think less of you’.

    Journalism at its finest.

    • ZarlTheDeceiver
      Posted November 29, 2016 at 11:15 am | Permalink

      Spot on. I was having a similar discussion today with my colleague.

      I think the fact that the Guardian hasn’t allowed comments shows how weaselly this whole piece is.

  18. Jazi Zilber
    Posted November 29, 2016 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    The Guardian live sports commentary are excellent, and I only use them for big games.

    I demand a retraction of calling the paper worthless 🙂

  19. Posted November 29, 2016 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    I call Poe’s Law on this one. But, I also agree with Maajid Nawaz, he shared this and said it’s a terrible article. I agree, if it’s supposed to be satire, it falls pretty flat, though some parts are a bit amusing.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted November 29, 2016 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      I think it’s fake too, but that the Guardian itself believes it’s real. The biggest tell tale sign for me is the comment about how hard it will be to tell his wife. Also, I think not being paid might be a hint.

      Is it really possible to go from Sam Harris to white male supremacy and back again after being a lifelong liberal in a few weeks? I doubt it. And if you think of Sam Harris in the way the Authoritarian Left does, you’re way more just a liberal too, you’re an extremist, which makes it less likely in that time frame.

      This self-flagellation though is the sort of thing that’s typical of the Authoritarian Left, and that helps make it completely believable.

  20. K Greenmantle
    Posted November 29, 2016 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    It has to be said that while the Guardian should be ashamed for lightening this, author Sam Harris should be just as ashamed for is blatant hypocrisy about the Left’s “Islamophobia” racket.

    When the SLPC designated Ayaan and Maajid as “anti-Muslim bigots”, Harris complained, but why were Harris and his friends (including Prof Coyne) OK with the SLPC tarring Robert Spencer with the same brush? It’s a complete double standard.

    Spencer is an expert on Islam (unlike the ignorant poseur Harris, whose writings on Islam are riddled with basic errors and glaring omissions), and the author of sixteen excellent books in the subject.

    Spencer, like Harris, goes out of his way to reject anti-Muslim bigotry, racism, and to promote free speech. Yet when Spencer gets put on the SLPC’s hit list, we hear nothing from Harris and company.

    Why the double standard? Why is it OK to tar Spencer as an “anti-Muslim bigot”, buy not OK to tar Ayaan in the same way?

    Spencer is no troglodyte. The great Ibn Warraq sits on the board at Spencer’s website, and has been writing there for a decade.

    Warraq, the great voice of secularism and humanism and reason from Pakistan, if friends with and works with Spencer, but Harris will not touch Spencer with a ten foot pole. Meanwhile, both of them are targeted by the Islamintern International, and Harris lies supine before the jihad.

    • Posted November 29, 2016 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      I didn’t say it was okay to put Spencer on the list, and in a subsequent post I decried such lists altogether. I just didn’t know all the other people as well, and couldn’t speak about their inclusion.

    • Carl
      Posted November 29, 2016 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

      This would have been a good post if you hadn’t called Sam Harris a hypocrite. Most people here will know that is assuredly not the case, and suspect the rest of what you wrote is unreliable.

      The simple explanation is just as Professor Coyne puts it – lack of deep knowledge of the other individuals named.

      Though I have to say, my response to the original SPLC article was revulsion, not just at the two familiar names being included, but at the concept of the list and the stated reasons for putting many of the names on that list.

  21. Posted November 29, 2016 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    It’s hilarious that this coward writes anonymously while people like Maajid Nawaz will denounce his earlier – genuine – radicalism in public despite facing possible murder.

    What does he think is going to happen to him – someone call him names on Twitter?

  22. rickflick
    Posted November 29, 2016 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    As I read the piece I kept thinking it could be a hoax perpetrated by British Islamists. After all, it is really an argument against their worst enemy – the willingness to discuss Islam truthfully. The Islamists want their religion to be cocooned as sacred and out of bounds for any critique.
    But, it’s really hard to tell and perhaps we will have some good evidence in time.

  23. infanttheology
    Posted November 29, 2016 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    This Christian gladly registers his agreement.


  24. Barney
    Posted November 29, 2016 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    It’s hard to know if a lot of things are spoofs these days. And that goes for your pieces on Huffington Post and The Guardian these days, professor, I’m afraid. I can’t imagine why you are so concerned about people having different viewpoints from you published, unless that is itself satire.

    • Posted November 29, 2016 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

      Now, I am wondering whether this comment is a spoof (and I didn’t even know the word an hour ago).

    • Posted November 29, 2016 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

      I don’t know what this comment means, so could you please explain, Barney?

      • Barney
        Posted November 30, 2016 at 6:10 am | Permalink

        You have taken someone who found himself ending up saying “Islam isn’t compatible with western civilisation”, and who realised that is a pretty awful broadbrush bigoted thing to say, and you are calling that just “criticism of religion”. You seem to have lost all sense of perspective. And you then say that The Guardian publishing this man’s opinion of what his own morals should be is a sign of “authoritarianism”. That is truly laughable – and, since we know you to be an intelligent and insightful man, I really do wonder if your series of panicked attacks on the Huffington Post and now The Guardian have all been designed to be laughable.

        You talk of “the danger that, when these people get in positions of power”, when they’re not trying to get into power, but power is held by their complete opposites, who are talking of stripping flag burners of citizenship, or, in the UK, have just passed a law legalising huge amounts of spying without warrants on private individuals. Your concerns are so completely misaimed that it looks like a joke.

        • somer
          Posted November 30, 2016 at 10:25 am | Permalink

          If you look at debates going back on Godless Spellchecker twitter handle or Mo Dawah or Maajid Nawaz to name but a few they provide a huge amount of evidence that the UK anti radicalisation program Prevent is very reasonable and targetted as much at white racist extremists as any Muslims. Criticism of it has been fanned by Islamists out of all proportion. Also how islamists get disproportionate media coverage elbowing out muslims who don’t advocate sharia. Or how Islamists influence the Labour party and some politicians high tolerance for islamism.

          other good UK sites include Iram Ramzan (50shadesofbeige); Mariam Namazie; Saif Rahman; faith to faithless; CEMB_Forum; Aliyah Saleem; Nick Cohen4; Jimmy Rushmore; Jamie Palmer

          Moreover Mariam Namazie and SouthallBlackSisters@SBSisters show how the government has bent over backward to accommodate imams and “community leaders” recommending sharia and how although technically it has no legal force many women know nothing about the existence of British secular law in family affairs and their rights and are pressured to use sharia which is extremely misogynistic.

          The twitter sites mentioned contain numerous good news and article links on topic of Islam in the UK and ongoing discussion of relevant issues. Its easy to find a huge array of news articles from many sources on these sites and twitter sites affiliated with them, but the left these days think all remotely mainstream media is something to be disparaged – the “MSM”

          • Barney
            Posted November 30, 2016 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

            I wasn’t referring to Prevent or any British government action specifically about Islam; I meant the Investigatory Powers Act. Liberty calls it “a beacon for despots everywhere”.

        • Posted December 1, 2016 at 1:11 am | Permalink

          Do tell us where your concerns are aimed. Of course, this is subtly yielding to your point that concerns can only be singularly focused on one spot, which if you’re smart enough to read between the lines, gives away the game at the outset. Are you prepared to present evidence that the world has but one problem?

  25. jose
    Posted November 29, 2016 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    It turns out it was a Sokal satire thing after all.

    • Posted November 29, 2016 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

      I’m not sure about that. Elfwick is a prankster and could have SAID he made that up! I’ll wait till the Guardian confesses that it’s a hoax.

      • Posted November 29, 2016 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

        OTOH if it is a prank, that is what pranksters do.

    • Posted November 29, 2016 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for this information! I have some faith in humanity again.

    • Posted November 30, 2016 at 3:34 am | Permalink

      The original article sounds obviously made up, but Elfwick’s evidence for authorship isn’t very strong so far. He hasn’t shown any correspondence between himself and the Guardian, just screenshots of a Word document and a timestamped file. Those are easier to fabricate than the correspondence, which should surely be the first thing produced to confirm his authorship?

      However, someone tweeted a message ‘confirming’ the story, so maybe more evidence will emerge.

      We’re going to have to get used to this sort of second-guessing in the post truth world.

    • Posted November 30, 2016 at 5:02 am | Permalink

      The Word document Elfwick screenshots as proof is dated 31/10/2016, but the article refers to Trump’s election, and Elfwick claims two articles by Abi Wilkinson as inspiration, both written after 31/10/2016, so this is clearly a hoax, er, hoax.

  26. Posted November 29, 2016 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    Elfwick repeats on twitter that he wrote it, a bit late after Douglas Murray, in response to the piece, called Sam Harris ‘a sweet Buddhist but with a bigger brain’.
    Greenwald piled in, approving of the piece, and accusing Harris of the usual right-wing bigotry: if Elfwick really did this, he’s smoked him out, but it won’t make any difference, GG will just carry on with the smear.
    Thousands, possibly millions, think of Harris as a right-wing bigot: I wonder if that idea could possibly have spread in pre-internet days. Or rather I don’t: it would have been unimaginable,

  27. michieux
    Posted November 29, 2016 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    From the writing I doubt the author is English.

  28. Posted November 29, 2016 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know if this is Elfwick or not, but the fact he can plausibly claim to be the author completely undermines any claim the article has in reality.

    • Posted November 30, 2016 at 4:33 am | Permalink

      Yes, I thinks that’s the most important point at this stage.

  29. Deni Pisani
    Posted November 30, 2016 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    Just an aside: here in Australia, a piece like this article is easily and immediately seen as satire/spoof or, as we say ‘taking the piss’.
    Now don’t hate on me, but as a general rule, we are baffled at the constant debate about whether something is legit or not (especially by our American cousins).
    We grew up ‘taking the piss’. I sometimes wonder, in my darker moments, if you WANT these articles to be legit, because it feeds the anguish.
    Nuff of that though…gotta go soak up some bad ass Ozone hole rays before the Trumpsters define global warming out of existence, and I will need to buy a scarf…

  30. Diane G.
    Posted November 30, 2016 at 2:34 pm | Permalink


  31. David Evans
    Posted November 30, 2016 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    This piece is published under the heading “Opinion”. Not “Opinion the Guardian approves of”, just “Opinion”. If you read the Opinion section for a few days you will find a wide range of views, with (I think) the regressive left in a minority.

  32. JB
    Posted December 1, 2016 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Look at Sam Harris’s twitter feed and you will see the article is a hoax, with Glenn apparently taking the time to attack Sam Harris over it.

    Also see:

    • Posted December 1, 2016 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      That’s not proof to me.

      • JB
        Posted December 1, 2016 at 10:23 am | Permalink

        Fair enough. What would qualify as reasonable? (“Proof”, in my mind, would be something like an unopened letter with the same content mailed to the publishers from the author, and opened later with independent observers, but I’m not sure we’re going to get that).

        Elfwick’s twitter feed has more:

        Of course, the evidence can be faked.

        BTW, thanks for your site — I appreciate the sophistication. It is more nuanced than many others. Have been a reader for many years.

      • JB
        Posted December 1, 2016 at 10:46 am | Permalink

        Posting this after the “Fair enough” post:

        In retrospect, I see your point. I was incorrect in assuming that Harris had done his due diligence on this one.

        Looking back, the evidence of Godfrey’s authorship doesn’t look very strong, (he could have posted a hash of the file prior to publishing or providing email history with associated tracking numbers, etc).

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