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Tom
London, England
An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about threats to liberty in Britain
Interests: liberty, travel, photography, writing
Recent Activity
Rabbi Sacks suggests that in Medieval Europe the (then) mostly Orthodox Jews were the "most visibly different" people and that it's human to fear differences. But we have almost nothing in common with our Medieval ancestors when it comes to other attitudes, so why some of us have held on to this one is, as you say, baffling. I thought the most telling part of his speech was the point he made about how Jew-haters have sought the highest available moral justification in each historical era. It tells us a lot about our own era that its the "equality" merchants who are doing the Jew-hating.
Toggle Commented Apr 13, 2018 on What is it about the Jews? at THE LAST DITCH
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Those interactions would rarely be a problem if there were honesty on both sides. To the extent there are difficulties in Britain, I would argue that they are the fault of Leftist idiots in the "native" (i.e. more recently immigrated) population who have made it impossible to talk honestly about integration issues. An Indian friend of mine, recently arrived on these shores, was amazed to learn that I find it irritating when our many new arrivals in London chat loudly on the tubes and buses. In the London I left in 1992, we traveled to work in near-total silence. It was not our custom to talk to strangers and in consequence pubic transport was a place to read, think or simply calm oneself on the way to or from a busy day. I remember a young French assistant to my teachers at secondary school remarking on the fact that people looked shocked when she greeted everyone on her bus to work with a bright "good morning" as French commuters do. It was a cultural thing and it has died. Why? Because we were too damned shy to "shush" people who knew nothing of the custom when they broke it. Similarly my local GP surgery in Ealing has signs and leaflets in all the languages spoken locally and offers translators to patients and even chaperones for Muslim ladies dealing with male doctors. No such services were provided in Poland, Russia or China when I worked in those countries - and I never expected them to be. I don't believe immigrants to Britain demanded them. But when virtue signalling, taxpayer money-wasting Leftist public servants decided to offer them, who can blame them for accepting them as their right. How many immigrants would speak better English and be more thoroughly integrated if we had not perpetrated these idiocies? I suspect, in fact, that many of our most difficult and hostile immigrants would never have come at all if it we had NOT made it possible for them to live apart, ignore our customs and function without fully learning our language.
Toggle Commented Apr 13, 2018 on What is it about the Jews? at THE LAST DITCH
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We are pack animals at base and our tribalism is natural enough. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't (as most of us in the West have) rise above it. Or at least get it harmlessly out of our system through such means as sport. I am in the unusual position of having started in my 50s to support a different football team from the one I had supported since I was a child. Rationally, it was a sensible thing to do. I live near Fulham. I do not live near Liverpool. It's convenient to go to Craven Cottage. It's bloody inconvenient to go to Anfield (and I have no friends or family who would ever want to go with me). Yet the feeling of guilt when Liverpool played at Craven Cottage and I was among the "wrong" supporters was very strong. The experience was educational as I tried to interpret my feelings. Abandoning one tribe to join another feels very disloyal and loyalty is a key human value upon which many of our institutions (trivial and important) are built. But being loyal to random factors is just dumb and I worry that the stupid posturing of those coining it in the "equalities" industry and of Leftist academics is stimulating more of it.
Toggle Commented Apr 13, 2018 on What is it about the Jews? at THE LAST DITCH
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A friend of mine took exception to being asked about his race in the course of admission to an NHS hospital. When he refused to answer, the nurse said she would not admit him unless the form was complete. "You fill that in then", he told her. "I can't" she said, "because it's the race with which you identify. I can't decide". "So you will write whatever I say?" he asked and when she said yes, he said "OK put Chinese then". Suffice it to say that he wasn't Chinese but, hoist on her own petard of political correctness, that's what she angrily wrote. The Left used to say we should not discriminate and that both law and society in general should be "colour blind". Now they *Insist* that we talk about race all the time, when I can literally think of nothing less important. It's infuriating and therefore counter-productive. If, that is, they truly want less racism, not more. I suspect that such a lucrative industry has been made of "discrimination" that the parasites who work in it are trying to generate more.
Toggle Commented Apr 13, 2018 on What is it about the Jews? at THE LAST DITCH
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I never encountered anti-semitism until I went to work in Poland in 1992. I was a partner in a Jewish law firm, by which I mean it had been founded by Jewish lawyers and most of the partners were Jewish. I don't remember considering the matter when deciding to apply... Continue reading
Posted Apr 12, 2018 at THE LAST DITCH
An obscure Danish "comedian", resident in London, has made a small stir on Twitter by announcing she has auto-blocked more than 500,000 "Nazis". I am one of the blocked Twitter users so she has, in effect, publicly called me a Nazi. I consider that to be defamatory, but she's probably... Continue reading
Posted Apr 9, 2018 at THE LAST DITCH
You are too kind. If I am making a few good people think my efforts are not In vain. But I also think you are too pessimistic. No I don’t think voters will ever be aware of the Left’s clever tricks. Sane productive people simply don’t engage in politics with the obsessive intensity of leftist fanatics. Why would they? But they ARE now generally aware that leftists are deranged — eg in denying biological truth and demanding that people be locked up for pointing it out — and that poverty ensues wherever they are in charge. The underlying stupidity of identity politics has feminists at each others throats over transgenderism while regular folks shake their heads and think “a pox on both their houses”. Fortunately, no greater comprehension than that is required. The real danger is not the overt identarian leftists like Corbyn but covert ones like Teresa May who lend credibility to such nonsenses as hate crime and the gender pay gap. All Liberty needs is one charismatic leader.
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You might be right but it’s well documented history. I suspect they would rather say that the evils done to the Jews do not justify the evils they allege the Jews have done to the Palestinians. The reason it’s so hard to distinguish anti-Zionism from anti-Semitism is that it’s obvious to most of us that if the Arab enemies of Israel win, genocide will surely follow.
Toggle Commented Apr 7, 2018 on A book Jeremy Corbyn should read at THE LAST DITCH
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I hear you but I care, not that anyone has wrong-headed ideas but that someone expects (or worse, in some cases legally requires) me not to laugh at them.
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I visited London just before her funeral and the atmosphere was hysterical in every sense. My taxi driver from Heathrow almost threw me out when I lost patience with his maunderings and said “I’ve waited all my life for the British working class to speak and now THIS is what you care about? An aristocratic bimbo whose entire family couldn’t pass a GCSE if they took it as a committee?!” Then he calmed down and said “You’re right, guv. Sorry — way over the top.” After a pause, he added apologetically, “It’s mainly the women inn’it?” Not all of them, I must add. Back in Poland the late Mrs P and I watched the funeral on TV and both laughed out loud when a women by the roadside in Northamptonshire, waiting for the coffin to pass by on the way to the Spencer family home, uttered the immortal words to a po-faced BBC man “no one can understand the deepness we feel”. We thought our once great nation finished at that moment; not because a simple, uneducated, kind woman was sentimental but because we were expected to take it seriously.
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So, in fairness, is mine. I think she does a good job but WW is a business and must give its customers what they want. The psychobabble is therefore an official part of the programme under the banner of “Feel, Think. Act”. I simplify that to “I felt uncomfortable carrying so much weight so I gave it some thought, took some advice and now I am acting on it.” Please don’t get me wrong. Psychology is a useful science within its limits. I am using it on myself productively. But so often people use it as what I tease my trainee psycho-therapist pal at WW by calling it “the science of excuses”. Analyse what’s in your way by all means but anyone who looks for excuses to fail has simply not decided to win. The point of any analysis is to help you decide what to do. Once it becomes an end in itself, you’re doomed.
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I know this is controversial and I don’t know to what extent it is true but might it rather be to some extent the feminisation of the UK? There are virtually no male primary school teachers these days. The paedo panic means it’s unsafe for a man to be around young children when a single unfounded accusation can wreck his life. So children's’ feelings are perhaps indulged for longer and boys in particular never told to man up. At work the way I was managed (productively and to the benefit of my personal development) would now routinely be described by HR as “bullying”.
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Your humble blogger is on a diet, a health kick, a change of lifestyle – call it what you will. Always a big chap, I have carried excess weight since my mid-thirties. The late Mrs P. used to nag me about it, with kindly intent, but I was never very... Continue reading
Posted Apr 6, 2018 at THE LAST DITCH
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I don't think the values you value (!) are specifically Christian, although they came to prominence historically in Christian Europe. They were shared by Jews, atheists and agnostics as well as followers of most minority religions in the Anglosphere and Western Europe. They are the values of the Age of Reason, a concept promoted for example in the original and best Tom's book of that name and the principal opposition to them when they were first put forward came from the Christian churches. Not that I am agreeing with your sentiments about Peterson you understand and I am well aware that *he* is informed by his own Christianity. There are Christians on right and left and on both sides of the "hate speech" vs "free speech" debate. I am not sure it's a useful indicator of political stance or attitude to civil liberties.
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Thanks for that. Very entertaining but in some cases also encouraging. When I began blogging I naively thought that my stance on civil liberties was apolitical and could (if I stayed focused on it) unite both right and left. I thought free speech was a civil liberties issue, for example, and not political as such. Yet now the Hard Left regard any mention of free speech as a cover for "white supremacy" (a world view I have never heard articulated, even though my friends range from revolutionary Marxist to very Conservative indeed). However there are some left-wingers commenting on that feeble Guardian hit piece who think free speech is important.
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Story of a Secret State: My Report to the World (Penguin Modern Classics): Amazon.co.uk: Jan Karski: 9780141196671: Books. I have just finished reading this book; a gift from a Polish friend. It was first published in the United States in 1944 and I am ashamed that I had never heard... Continue reading
Posted Apr 6, 2018 at THE LAST DITCH
Talk to your grandchild and his or her friends. Any of them may yet save us. Hope!
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Nil desperandum. You speak of “inexorable” and then report the optimistic fact of your son’s position. Any one of Prof Peterson’s adherents could be the leader who saves the values of the Enlightenment from their wicked and/or foolish enemies. If only everyone who took time to say we are doomed on social media spent that time reasoning with a young person instead!
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You could be right. If so, what are both doing here? To bemoan our fate is a pointless activity. We should only speak, write or act politically in the hope of making a difference. Otherwise we’re just wasting our fellows’ time. If Rome is burning, and there’s nought we can do, recreational fiddle-playing may be a better option. There’s fun to be found, surely, even in a dying civilisation? When and if I despair, that’s what I will do*. Until then I will Keep firing my rhetorical popgun in the direction targeted by Prof Peterson’s intellectual heavy artillery. * To be honest, that's how I spend most of my time already!
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Conversations: Featuring Dr. Jordan B. Peterson, Professor of Psychology, University of Toronto - John Anderson. I cannot commend to you enough this video interview with Professor Jordan Peterson. I have long regretted losing my heroes, either as they fall from grace or as I acquired the cynicism (or is it... Continue reading
Posted Apr 1, 2018 at THE LAST DITCH
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That’s a counsel of despair. The present crazed ideas circulated unnoticed in academia for years before influencing the political classes and therefore impacting our lives. Professor Jordan Petersen and others are countering them patiently and if we — rationally — oppose them we can eventually (not with one blog post or dinner party conversation) spread better ones. Years ago I had the pleasure of drinking at the Adam Smith Institute with some graduate students of economics who read this blog. I don’t need to reach the masses. Just a few people like that who will rise to positions of influence in time. Stay positive and influence every intelligent young person you can. Dum spiro spero!
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Sympathy for the underdog is one of the most agreeable Anglosphere traits. I am prone to it myself; instinctively cheering on West Bromwich Albion or Stoke City against the likes of Manchester United. Fans of the Red Devils will bitterly tell you of the phenomenon known as "ABU" - Anyone... Continue reading
Posted Mar 27, 2018 at THE LAST DITCH
Yes, I saw that. Samizdata is in my RSS feed. I also tried to spread the word on Twitter, giving you credit. https://twitter.com/tompaine/status/963024819515256832
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That is a word we should adopt into the English language! Given its origin in the Socialist world, it's particularly potent.
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I've been back in England for six years now, but was away for twenty, when all this was coming to fruition. I guess I am not as acclimatised yet as those who lived here throughout. Especially as I was in post-communist economies while I was away, helping market players rebuild on the rubble of socialism. It was a real shock to come home and find that deadest of all dead ideas had been gaining ground here in zombie form while I was away. No-one in Poland or Russia expects the state to take care of them. Given their history they would think it hilariously naive.
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