Christopher Hitchens on our Banana Monarchy

Banana Monarchy detail

‘Ukania’, as my old comrade Tom Nairn dubs it, has a monarchy that is now neither dignified nor efficient, a Church which cannot fill its pews or find a reputable or willing crowned head, and a ‘kingdom’ structure that reflects none of the centripetal aspirations on the peripheries – especially the Scottish and Irish ones.

How will a Brexiteered Ukania cope?

“Britishness” With the Jingos – A Conclusion

Anon #3: You have been nit picking about one persons definition of British.

 

Paddy: I think I can simplify this for late comers/the bored/etc.

Say that I’m atheist. Say I’m debating a Protestant.

1. The Protestant wants to convince me God is omniscient, awe-inspiring and generous. I respond that believe the whole idea of “God” is wrong/misplaced.

2. The Protestant asks me to define Catholicism suggesting I’m more susceptible to their claims. I respond, no, I simply don’t believe in God. The Catholic claims that God is mighty, empowering and forgiving do not sway me either.

3. Well, he replies, if you don’t think God is omniscient, awe-inspiring and all-powerful do you at least think in general he’s these things.

Conclusion: Protestant argues as if God is real and I’m not ready to accept that.

In this case:

1. This was Anon #1’s “British entry requirements”.

2. This was when Ronnie asked me to define Nigerian-ness. I argued that was a unpersuasive detour: “Nigerian-ness” is just as shaky/unpersuasive of a concept as “British”.

3. This was when Ronnie asked me to accept that tea-drinking was more popular in Britain than Australia.

Conclusion: Ronnie outlines very specific requirements for British-ness. While I still don’t accept it is a coherent, unified “thing” whatever the specifics. Science, for example, can’t talk about British-ness. My point is we can all have subjective feelings about something which doesn’t exist in the material world. Concepts can be shaky like that.

Just so it’s clear: I think all ideas about nationalism are flawed and that goes for any any Nigerian nationalists out there too.

“Britishness” With the Jingos – Part 2

Part 1 can be found here

Anon #2:  Is Alex Salmond a racist white supremacist? What about Martin McGuinness? Would you call him a bigot? Was Gandhi a bigot? What about Sitting Bull – patriot or racist xenophobic bigot? When Muhammad Ali proclaimed he wanted his grandchildren to look like him was he a racist bigot? What really bugs me about “anti-racism” is how racist it is.

 

Paddy: You constructed a straw-man. There’s no point in me defending arguments I’ve never made. Although, I do appreciate that you felt the need to pull out a generic copy/pasted response to confront me.

 

Anon #1: “That was a lazy trap and a pointless detour. You can surely do better. For a start, you respond to my questions. I’ve had the courtesy to reply to yours, however (momentarily) distracting.”

No you haven’t. You’re a very evil kind of liar, and here’s why. You know that to define Nigerian-ness would be to open yourself up to the same scrutiny to which you give Britishness.

While it is true that not every British person is an identikit fit, there are indeed many commonalities between British people that make up British culture – I’ve given you quite a few, but you are saying that since you AS AN INDIVIDUAL don’t engage in those acts, that it is NOT BRITISH. Not only is this kind of anecdotal evidence worthless, but it is also very dangerous. Obviously anyone intelligent enough can see through your facade, but my worry is that a great deal of morons who are allowed to vote and are swayed by such nonsense, will vote on that basis.

Paddy: I’ve already preempted most of your silly remarks in my previous post. I suggest you read it. In short it went:

There is probably no comprehensive, singular Nigerian identity we can speak of, just as there is probably no British one. It would be arrogant and hypocritical to claim otherwise, particularly without evidence. This position was made pretty clear in my last post.

So where have you got this silly idea that I believe in Nigerian-ness from? Short answer: your imagination. There is where I will stop humoring you and this silly diversion and be temporarily abrupt: I haven’t fallen into your silly trap (which would go to demonstrate that I’m some sort of selective cultural-relativist? I’m not sure what angle you desired) so stop pretending that I have or will.

 

Anon #1: “Now, will you actually respond to my rebuttal to your ideas of Britishness?”

I answered your question with a question. Since you were unable to answer, it proves that asking what “Britishness” is was a simple trap, something you have now accused me of. This is psychological projection. If you have an IQ of >80 like you claim to have, you’d see this plainly.

“That’s the only way this conversion can really go anywhere considering it’s the subject of this conversation.”

A simple re-framing of your question exposed it as the ridiculous, simplification fallacy that it was. Liberalism can only win debates by establishing the original frame. Once that question is reflected, it usually goes unanswered or you see shaming language and multiple fallacies compounded onto each other.

 

Paddy: Do I really have to spell out what’s going on here? Do you really want me to be that condescending towards you? Ah, well then, here we go.

I promise to make it reeeally simple:

You claimed to know all about what it means to be “British”. I asked you what exactly this meant – an important question, the parameters of club membership need to be made clear – and got a list which went from: drinking something which originated in Asia to liking barbecues and driving a Mini via speaking with an English accent (this last one was probably the most stupid thing I’ve read in a long time). Anybody which couldn’t meet all those characteristics was, in your mind, non-British. I pointed out the absurdity of such a list, offering individual and brilliantly crafted rebuttals to each point.

…This is when you brought up “Nigerian-ness”.

Seeing as I now pointed out how silly and potentially irrelevant that was, I would like to return to conceptions of Britishness – something you claimed to know all about.

(Oh, and how you wound me by suggesting I am a Liberal. Oh woe.)

 

Anon #2: Why should labels be seen as weapons? Not everybody uses labels to stifle opposition.

 

Paddy: I’ll admit I am not sure what context he was using it in – it’s in amongst a paragraph which would bamboozle the most competent linguistics academia has to offer.

Though I’m willing to wager that ol’ Ronnie isn’t a fan of Liberals (they tend to be opposed to nationalist and race-based movements by definition, in both the Classical and the modern sense). Although, it’s comforting to see that my mention of Liberalism was the only thing you could pick me up on in your efforts to support Captain Britain over here. By ignoring the substance of my central argument you’re supporting me more than you know.

“Britishness” With the Jingos – Part 1

Anon #1: BBC = anti-British, leftist propaganda. History will show it in 100-200 years time, and we’ll ask why we did nothing about it at the time.

 

Paddy: How do you define “British”? Just interested.

 

Anon #1: If you’d ever lived in Britain you’d know what British meant.

 

Paddy: I have lived in Britain (and traveled it extensively) all my life, and having done so, realise how broad and subjective concepts like “British” are. No one seems to have it pinned down. Looking at your comments however, you seem to think that you have the answer. So please, stop being coy and enlighten me. I want to know.

 

Anon #1: Tea drinking, mini driving, English accented, white lineage (hurr wazyzm – no, it isn’t. Indians are “indian”, and you wouldn’t call them racist for saying it), accepting, restrained, queue loving, Barbecue cooking legends make up “Britishness”. There are many more examples, but since you had to ask you either don’t feel British or don’t want me to feel British or both.

 

Paddy: “There are many more examples, but since you had to ask you either don’t feel British or don’t want me to feel British or both.”

If you had read my comment before jumping to that paranoid and jingoistic conclusion you would see that isn’t the case.

“Tea drinking, mini driving, English accented, white lineage (hurr wazyzm – no, it isn’t. Indians are “indian”, and you wouldn’t call them racist for saying it), accepting, restrained, queue loving, Barbecue cooking legends make up “Britishness”.”

Let me go through this.

1. What if one does not like tea or own a Mini, are they instantly considered un-British? I must admit to disliking that cramped car, nor to I care much for tea (origin: east Asia).

2. “English accented” gave me a good chuckle. How about the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish (many Cornish would also take issue), none of which have English accents? Are they not British?

3. Up here in t’North, where I currently am, no one seems to have Barbecues. Are they not British? Or is it just those Guardian-reading southern folk with large gaaardens?

4. Since you brought race into it – albeit, by invoking the wishy-washy P.C. term “lineage” – how exactly do you judge something like that? Do you have to be from an undiluted Anglo-Saxon “lineage” (there’s no such thing) or from one of those Celtic or ancient Palaeolithic bloodlines in order to stake a racial claim to this great land? Taken to it’s logical conclusions, linking race with land becomes untenable.

(Let’s see how “accepting” and “restrained” you are in your response…)

 

Anon #1: Yup, you’re a leftist, white-hating bigoted troll. It didn’t take much effort to out you, did it? Fine, define Nigerian culture. What does it mean to be Nigerian.

 

Paddy: Neither restrained or accepting, then.

“Yup, you’re a leftist, white-hating bigoted troll. It didn’t take much effort to out you, did it? Fine, define Nigerian culture. What does it mean to be Nigerian.”

Did you even read my wonderfully eloquent comment? How did you even jump to that conclusion? And why are you so hostile to talk of “culture” so suddenly, isn’t “Britishness” a culture? C’mon, show us that you can provide us more than simple raving jingoistic nonsense.

I’m trying to have a polite, productive discussion here. (You really should read my previous comment, it’s rather good.)

 

Anon #1: No really, prove to me that you can’t define Nigerian-ness, and you’ll realise that asking someone to neatly define Britishness is obviously a ridiculous question designed to nitpick and refute Britishness based on logically fallacious but pretty lies. If you can’t define Nigerian-ness, then this entire concept is bogus. What are you scared of?

 

Paddy: I asked you to elaborate on a subject you claimed to know a lot about. Now you’re asking me to elaborate on something I know nothing about: I’ve never been to Nigeria, I am not a citizen of that country nor have I, more importantly, claimed that they have a static or coherent culture – a solidified idea of “Nigerian-ness”. It would be intellectually dishonest to say that I did or to now speculate about something which most Nigerians themselves would probably have difficulty defining. Just like you and me on “Britishness”.

That was a lazy trap and a pointless detour. You can do better, surely. For a start, you can respond to my questions. I’ve had the courtesy to reply to yours, however (momentarily) distracting.

 

(Spoiler: he didn’t do better.)

 

 

Thoughts on Patriotism Today: Pole’s Perspective.

I come from a very different background than Paddy. What kind of national/patriotic celebrations do you have in Britain? There’s the Jubilee and the Remembrance Day. One honours the sacrifice of British men and women who lost their lives in the line of duty. The other, an old woman’s ability to stay alive.

Back in my homeland, things are quite different. Patriotism is an integral part of Polishness. We suckle it from our mother’s tit. Learning to remember and honour the history, sacrifices and achievements of Poles, who came before is as important as learning your ABC’s. There are three major events in Polish history, which are celebrated the most in modern Poland. Firstly, 11th November, The Independence Day. That one’s quite self-explanatory. Secondly, 3rd of May, when we celebrate our first constitution. The last, desperate effort, to save the homeland from expansionist ambitions of our imperial neighbours at the end of the 18th century (BTW we were second in the world after the US and first in Europe to do so). Thirdly, the Warsaw Uprising of 1944, its beginning and tragic end.

You can see a theme emerging there. All those events are linked with the fight for independence. Since I was a little kid, I either watched or took part in many school performances designed to honour and teach us about that fight. I always loathed having to stand in front of the whole school and recite a patriotic poem.

Look how awkward those kids look. I used to be one of them.

But you know what, I consider myself a patriot. Yes, I am proud of being Polish and I love my country. In my own special way. I’ve watched many historical drama and documentary movies and TV shows. Did you know that Paddy wishes he was alive during the Spanish Civil War, so he could join the volunteer brigade and fight fascism? Well, part of me wishes I was alive during the Warsaw Uprising, or any other uprising (and we had many) so I could take part in that. My heart actually swells when I hear the same patriotic poems and songs I found boring as a kid. I feel proud when I hear or remind myself about Poles winning awards. I loved to learn about our military victories, and I still kinda brag about them all when I talk with Paddy.

Unfortunately, as many things, even that has been hijacked by some assholes who decided to use it for their political or other gains. In short, the right-wingers (especially from the current ruling party) love to accuse anyone who doesn’t agree with them of being un-patriotic and sometimes going as far as calling them traitors. Even worse, the Independence Day has been turned into a battleground. The day when all Poles ought to enjoy the parades and celebrate has become an excuse for the nationalists to organize mass fights and riots against the enemies of the homeland. You know, the liberals, the left-wingers and pretty much anyone who happens to cross their path. They are nothing more than thugs and vandals, with not so subtle neo-Nazi undertones. The ideals of liberty have been tainted with racism, xenophobia and homophobia. Even the veterans who survived both WW2 and the Warsaw Uprising, so eagerly put on the pedestal by the nationalists, have condemned their behaviour.

The face of Polish ‘patriots’.

This is one of the reasons why I agree with Paddy on that issue. Patriotism is an outdated concept and a dangerous one. It now serves to antagonize people and turn them against foreigners and outsiders. It justifies and encourages violence towards not only ‘external threats’ but also those these cunts consider ‘internal traitors’.

Fortunately, for every skinhead who uses patriotic slogans as an excuse to punch someone in the face, there are a few people who don’t. Unfortunately, the skinheads tend to shout the loudest and be given the most attention by the media. The silent minority is failing us.

So many things divide us as people. Race, gender, religion, sexuality. The list goes on. If patriotism means loving your country by hating everyone who doesn’t fit your narrow and ignorant world view, then kill it. I say this, a patriot.

Pole.