Inspiration: commentary on Dutch conservative MP Geert Wilders call for a “Draw Muhammad” event. Related:
Mr Wilders, the firebrand leader of the Party for Freedom, has lived under round the clock protection for years because of his anti-Islam rhetoric. A 26-year-old man, reportedly from Pakistan, was arrested this week in The Hague after making an alleged death threat against Mr Wilders.
“To avoid the risk of victims of Islamic violence, I have decided to not let the cartoon contest go ahead,” he said.
A civil, multicultural, and tolerant people have no need to bait those associated with any peaceful ideology, race, or religion; however, Islam has been saddled with some portion of extremists / hotheads / jihadists and the tolerant, generally speaking, chose to express that to the intolerant — and then the intolerant proved themselves exactly as depicted and expected.
There are powerful forces in the world rooted in criminality, power, and wealth that want to produce a feudal global society perpetually at war over small differences and one has most likely manipulated Islamic Terrorism to help install that “feudal mode”. The world would do well to see that clearly and follow up by continuing to diminish racial, religious, and other extremism, by embracing and promoting the benefits of liberal democracy, and by applying its better energies to other challenges and issues.
In the United States, the First Amendment / Freedom of Speech concept suggests the tolerating of hateful speech, and so we permit white supremacists and Black Panthers to _lawfully_ gather and express themselves in the public space without restraint.
That is freedom.
ose whose opinions are indeed hateful may suffer opprobrium for the same and social marginalization, and that is the way America has worked lo these many years since 1791.
“Political Correctness” may diminish that freedom if and when the state attempts to codify what is acceptable criticism and what is not.
We don’t like hate speech, but we think so much of “domestic tranquility” — a term also embedded in America’s foundations — that we tolerate the presence of it in the open, and we then address it with counter-arguments and social behavior, i.e., we walk away from it and shun those who beliefs and attitudes are not what we ourselves in our collective American majority would wish to embrace.
Perhaps Geert Wilders has recognized that we are 14 years along from the assassination of Theo Van Gogh, and he has chosen a socially responsible route, not necessarily the best political stance. On the other hand, since September 11, 2001 the world has engaged in a great conversation about Islamic extremism and perhaps as progress has been made in diminishing the appeal of it — and motivation for it — the urge to condemn Islam for it has perhaps been diminished as well.
For referencing other web content so often and so much, BackChannels has practically stopped expressing its own logic and sensibility. Therefore and herewith a few observations related to the now infamous and nationally degrading accusations aimed at the world’s — not only America’s — major high-integrity media (even the famed “Gray Lady” has been the target of somebody’s half-packed mud balls).
First, choose your own preferred mode in contemporary governance:
Feudal Political Absolutism
Modern Checked and Democratic Distribution of Power
That should be easy, but if you’re up to your chinny chin chin in loot, corporate or illicit (or both), and have been the object of generous favor by some singular power, then weighing the options (starting with making a little to a lot less money) may be more difficult.
Let’s move on.
Dictatorship should be oh so 20th Century by now. If a citizen of the old EU / NATO experience, you have seen it, defeated it — Franco, Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin et al. — lived through it, or at least heard about it and thought as much gone with the Cold War and done, finished, and dead in the west. If respectful of the American flag and those of others aligned with it in spirit, then perhaps you have been also respectful of the war dead whose sacrifice has enabled this very freedom to read and write with earnest and responsible intent.
In short, you may know and love freedom of speech — “Press Freedom” — as intended and practiced and appreciated.
And yet here I / you / we are confronted by an “information space” packed with the must vulgar of accusations: those institutions wholly devoted to reason and truth, so much has been inferred, have reverted to malicious invention.
It ain’t so, Joe.
Something has been sabotaged, gone wrong, thrown off course in relation to common confidence in America’s political discourse and news, but is that to be blamed on the many communities of best educated editors and writers and remarkably informed, sharp, and thoughtful readers?
An American homily may apply: “He who points the finger should point it back at himself.”
The Cold War ended on December 25, 1991, and although the Phantoms of the Soviet would seem to haunt Moscow as the revived capital of a persistent KGB State under the guidance of President Putin, the axis of east-west competition has been both profoundly changed and clarified.
Throughout the Soviet Era, Washington promoted the virtues of Capitalism against Communism, and for most Americans, that argument between “centralized economic planning” and the “free enterprise system” appears to have sufficed for explaining east-west hostilities.
Perhaps there was more to it then — something more about the soul of historic Russian politics in the mix — but the public — or perhaps only this editor, lol — would not seem to have been able to “get it” until now:
Medieval Political Absolutism
Modern Democratic and Checked Distribution of Power
In the process of developing his own political stance, Sebastian Gorka, the son of a fiercely anti-communist, anti-Soviet father — one Paul Gorka betrayed by the infamous spy Kim Philby and subsequently captured by communist officials in Hungary and imprisoned and tortured — appears to have focused on Moscow’s continuing totalitarian aspect but not on the medieval aspects that may characterize his own authoritarian response to challengers of American democratic principles and values (including America’s classically liberal outlook).
Instead, perhaps in reflexive response to Islamic Terrorism, Gorka may have played precisely into Moscow’s feudal worldview, preferring to amplify the forces of Islamic Jihad as part of the Trump Administration’s sense of mission while missing the observation that the threat of Islamic terrorism has served Putin quite well.
By focusing perhaps overmuch on “Islamic Terrorism” — a deus ex machina that generally targets for slaughter those Muslims who seem the first to be in its way — Sebastian Gorka has perhaps missed the necessity of putting to rest the yesterday that was the medieval world and its worldviews while further widening the scope of connectivity and cooperation that has brought us our modern world, boosted international trade beyond imagining, and far promoted the secular humanist ideals and values associated with democracy and its defense of community and individual belief.
As now long demonstrated by the Syrian Conflict and Tragedy as well as continuous warfare in Ukraine, the existence of Putin’s world and worldview depends mightily on the validation of authoritarian nationalism and its indulgence in barbarism.
Encountered earlier today: fragments from the web involving Sebastian Gorka.
Note: Gorka’s own misplaced emphasis on loyalty to an elected official, the President of the United States, Donald Trump, and by extension himself would seem part of the medieval formula and precisely that which personal and political insight would now do well to address.
My father spent 6 years in a communist prison, two years in solitary. Not two months, two years. Two years in a prison coal mine where each prisoner – hold on to your seats – without machinery or explosives was required by the communist wardens to break ten tons of anthracite off the coal face every day. But, a few years later, in the cold, cold autumn of 1956, something happened that was monumental. Not as monumental as Wednesday morning, but monumental. The group of young Hungarian students and manual laborers, believe it or not — quite a coalition, think about Wednesday. Yeah? Think about the blue-collar rural vote. Some students and some manual laborers decided to have a demonstration in Budapest, the silent demonstration. That silent demonstration devolved into the first freedom fight against communism, the October revolution of 1956, 60 years ago this year. As the result of that revolution, my father was liberated from prison by a revolutionary commander who had captured a Soviet tank.
Posted by The Majority Report With Sam Seder, February 9, 2017.
There has been an incredible amount of interest in “our” Sebastian Gorka. I say “our” because Hungarian Spectrum was the first internet site to deal at some length with Gorka, who, by the way, is turning out to be a much more important character in the Trump White House than we first realized.
It was on January 31 that I wrote “Sebastian Gorka’s Road from Budapest to the White House” and on February 2, “Sebastian L. von Gorka’s encounter with the Hungarian National Security Office.” Subsequently, with the help of Eli Clifton, who wrote a fascinating article titled “Why Is Trump Adviser Wearing Medal of Nazi Collaborators?” I ascertained that I was wrong in assuming that the “v.” in Sebastian L. v. Gorka’s name stands for “von.” I came to the revised conclusion that the medal on Gorka’s “bocskai” is the symbol of the “vitézi rend” or “Order of Heroes” and that the “v.” stands for “vitéz.” Clifton’s article is a real gem, which should be read by everyone who wants to know more about Gorka’s right-wing roots.
The White House’s omission of Jewish victims of the Holocaust in its statement for Holocaust Remembrance Day raised objections from Jewish groups across the political spectrum but the Trump administration’s combative defense was perhaps the most surprising move by a presidency facing record low approval numbers. Last Monday, Deputy Assistant to the President Sebastian Gorka refused to admit that that it may have been poor judgment not to specifically acknowledge the suffering of Jews in the Holocaust.
Gorka was an odd choice of proxies for the White House to put forward in defense of its Holocaust Remembrance day statement.
He has appeared in multiple photographs wearing the medal of a Hungarian group listed by the State Department as having collaborated with the Nazis during World War II.
On February 7, 2017, Gorka asserted that the White House would continue to call all media criticism of Trump “fake news” until the media let go of its “monumental desire” to destroy the President.
Gorka is a member of the Order of Vitéz (Vitézi Rend), an hereditary order of merit which was founded by Miklós Horthy in 1920. Although required to list and renounce his membership in the Vitézi Rend, an order prohibited along with other Nazi-linked organizations, on his N-400 Application for Naturalization in 2012 when he sought U.S. citizenship, Gorka appeared on FOX News on Inauguration evening dressed in the uniform and wearing the badge, tunic, and ring of the Vitezi Rend.
What editors and writers seem to be detecting in their presentation of Sebastian Gorka is a latent fascism that would appear to mirror Moscow’s character. As much surfaced with Trump’s choice of Paul Manafort, consultant to Ukrain’s corrupt and piratical Viktor Yanukovych (among other of the world’s dismally kleptocratic personalities) as a campaign manager. By now, the White House should be figuring out that it needs to change public perception of its own authoritarian bents or continue eroding the confidence of the electorate, and that across Party lines.
Clifton does not bother to report why the order was awarded then, or even why the “Hungarian diaspora” existed in the first place; he shows no interest in the order as an anti-communist symbol, merely noting that the Soviets banned it.
And of course Clifton offers no evidence — none at all — that Gorka, or his antecedents, had any kind of empathy for the Nazi regime or its views.
Clifton could have consulted Gorka’s book, Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War, to know more about his background. His father grew up during the Nazi siege of Budapest and later joined the anti-communist resistance. He was betrayed by Kim Philby, a British double agent for the Soviet Union, arrested and tortured.
Gorka says journalists have deliberately misrepresented Trump’s intentions, and that on occasion it provides comic relief at the White House.
“I come in every day and with my colleagues we have a good old laugh because we open the newspapers, the ones that are supposed to be the leading authorities in America, and they write about issues where we were in the room the day before, and their reportage has absolutely no resemblance to what is actually happening inside the White House,” he says.
Gorka says the White House is not in disarray and denies its officials are sending mixed signals on policies including Washington’s stance on Ukraine and Russia. But contradictions are apparent.