Melanie Phillips on a World Gone Mad

Melanie Phillips, the British journalist, is author of The World Turned Upside Down: The Global Battle over God, Truth, and Power. As the title suggests, the book covers a lot of ground. Phillips touches on much of it in an interview with National Review Online’s Kathryn Jean Lopez.

KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ: What’s notable about the current “apparent mass departure from rationality”?

MELANIE PHILLIPS: What I have found so striking is that, in this supposed age of reason, there is such an implacable refusal, over a wide and disparate range of issues, to acknowledge the authority of factual evidence over opinion, or distinguish truth from propaganda and lies, or differentiate between justice and injustice, victim and victimizer. More than that, this phenomenon is confined to the supposed custodians of reason, the intelligentsia; and some of the most prominent of these often-militant “rationalists” propound assertions that are demonstrably irrational.

Even more striking is that this repudiation of reason is associated with the most fashionable and progressive causes — anti-imperialism, anti-Americanism, anti-Zionism, environmentalism, moral and cultural relativism, multiculturalism, scientism. Yet they promote not just irrationality but a return to primitivism, pre-modern levels of social disorder, and the persecution of dissenters.

LOPEZ: What does a self-described “agnostic” care about God?

PHILLIPS: You don’t have to be a religious believer to understand that if religion — more specifically, the Hebrew Bible and the Christianity that built upon it — underpins Western civilization and the codes of right and wrong — putting others above yourself, freedom and equality, and belief in reason — that form the bedrock of that civilization, then eroding or destroying that religion will erode or destroy those virtues and the civilization they distinguish.

LOPEZ: You write that progressives, Islamists, environmentalists, fascists, militant atheists, and religious fanatics are “united by a common desire to bring about through human agency the perfection of the world.” Is this becoming more apparent?

PHILLIPS: It may seem strange to lump all these ideologies together since they are all so different. But, when you look at them, it is immediately apparent that they are all at root utopian, millenarian visions of the perfection of the world through human agency — the age-old recipe for totalitarian terror. The idea that fascism is in a wholly different place from the Left is in my view quite misplaced: Although conventionally one is described as “right” and the other as “left,” this is historically and philosophically inaccurate; they share common roots in the repudiation of individual reason and liberty.

One of the mysteries of the age is the way “progressives” who fetishize sexual freedom, gay rights, female equality, and the like march shoulder to shoulder with Islamists who stone adulterers, kill gays, and subjugate women. They share a common desire to destroy the cultural traditions and normative values of the West — all in the cause of creating the perfect society, which creates in turn a totalitarian mindset, which links religious fanatics and the political tyrannies of both Communism and fascism.

To some of us, this is very apparent — but many who are in the grip of these delusions are frighteningly incapable of understanding what it is that they don’t understand.

LOPEZ: Why do you put the word “progressives” in quotation marks?

PHILLIPS: Glad you asked that! Because there’s nothing progressive about the totalitarian fanatics of the Left, even though they claim that label for themselves. One of our biggest problems is the hijacking of language by the Left, which has turned words such as “liberal,” “tolerant,” and “progressive” into their very opposites. I do believe in being progressive in the true sense — the authentic, classical-liberal goal of creating a better society by encouraging the good and discouraging the bad. But to achieve that, we have to reclaim the language of social progress for its true meaning, which is based on a proper differentiation between right and wrong, truth and lies, justice and injustice. Until we do that, we allow ourselves to be co-opted into the discourse of moral and intellectual inversion, and we allow the lunatics to run the asylum.

I do hope that this language is not politically incorrect.

LOPEZ: Are there really a hundred thousand practicing pagans in Britain today? There’s a Pagan Police Association?

PHILLIPS: Yup! It’s testimony, is it not, to the rich diversity of diversity in Britain? We all have to keep straight faces while our police officers take official leave to dance naked ’round a pile of stones.

LOPEZ: So Islam is not London’s only religion problem.

PHILLIPS: The real problem in Britain is not Islam but the vacuum in British culture which Islam is opportunistically attempting to fill. That vacuum has been caused by the retreat and surrender of the Christian church under the tide of secularism and aggressive atheism. This has opened the door not to an age of reason but to an epidemic of paganism — environmentalism, or worship of the earth, is the most conspicuous example, but there’s lots of other absurd stuff, too, such as seances, crystals, astrology, and the like. The Islamization of Britain is only taking place because the spiritual playing field has been abandoned to hyper-individualism and irrationality. The U.S. isn’t immune to this madness by the way — just look at Madonna and “Kabbalah” (not).

LOPEZ: How is “Londonistan” faring? Any better? Any worse?

PHILLIPS: Better in the narrow but obviously highly important sense that our security people have picked up on and stopped so many Islamist plots against Britain. But just as bad, or even worse, in the degree to which the political and security establishments still refuse to acknowledge that Britain and the West are the victims of a religious war, an Islamic jihad. They refuse to use the terms “Islamic extremism” or “Islamic terrorism.” Sound familiar?

Worse, they believe that the Muslim Brotherhood — who are the spiritual fathers of al-Qaeda and Hamas amongst others, and whose aim is to reestablish the medieval Islamic caliphate and conquer the world for Islam — are just a bunch of harmless religious nuts who can be used to divert impressionable young British Muslims away from terror. So they actually employ such Islamic extremists in government — as advisers against Islamic extremism. They are doing nothing to halt the advance of a parallel sharia jurisdiction and are even welcoming sharia finance. Only people who have lost touch with rationality in general can be so blind, surely.

LOPEZ: Why does Princess Diana remain an important cultural case study?

PHILLIPS: The hysteria over Princess Diana was a spectacular example of the tendency towards psychological projection, in which the public projects its deepest fears and fantasies onto a public figure who is held to transcend disadvantage. At its worst, this process makes the celebrity into a kind of sainted figure. A similar kind of pathological projection took Barack Obama into the White House.

LOPEZ: Tell me about “kitsch emotion,” what it is, and why it’s important to recognize.

PHILLIPS: Kitsch emotion replaces real feelings, such as love or grief, with a sentimentalized pastiche that is, at root, all about making the person feel good about himself. Thus, as with the death of Diana, people advertise their moral worth with open displays of grief over someone they only knew as a media construct; emotional restraint is seen not as an admirable stoicism but as evidence of callousness.

These are emotions for a narcissistic age; they are all about the self, not about looking out for other people. It’s important to recognize this so that we can distinguish them from the real thing — which otherwise will become confused and may be lost altogether, along with our concern for others and our whole understanding of the difference between what is true and what is false.

LOPEZ: How can Britain be “post-religious” when religion seems to be an issue there?

PHILLIPS: It’s post-Christian, to be more precise; in other words, the indigenous population has turned away from faith in and adherence to the doctrines and moral precepts of the religion that underpins British society. By comparison with the U.S., Britain is pretty godless.

LOPEZ: “People didn’t want to hear about the anti-white, anti-Western church to which he had belonged for twenty years, nor about his questionable associations with people in Chicago’s corrupt political machine, nor about his friendships with and tutelage by anti-Western radicals.” Is this at the heart of so many problems? People simply don’t want to know?

PHILLIPS: Yes, it’s human nature, unfortunately, to hide heads in sand and hope unpleasant things will just go away. But what’s so alarming now is the extent to which people are allowing emotionalism and wishful fantasies to delude them, especially at such a dangerous juncture for the world. The way in which the American public refused to acknowledge the evidence of Obama’s radical background and thus elected an anti-Western radical to the White House was indeed a conspicuous example of this flight from reality.

LOPEZ: Has the public fully appreciated the significance of the Climate Research Unit fraud?

PHILLIPS: One of the striking aspects of mass ideological delusion is a refusal to acknowledge even the clearest evidence of the intellectual and moral corruption at its core. The gerrymandering of scientific evidence by the East Anglia Climate Research Unit, in order to uphold the theory of anthropogenic global warming in the face of evidence that the earth was not warming at all, has been pushed aside as either an artificially created uproar or, at worst, an error of judgment by one hard-pressed scientist.

It was far worse than that, of course, because the various scientists involved had been for years absolutely central to the promulgation of AGW theory; and what the leaked emails revealed was their instinctive impulse to wrench the facts to fit their prior assumptions. Most chilling of all was their unshakeable certainty that they had a duty thus to wrench that evidence — in order to demonstrate the truth of the theory, because it was simply impossible that there could be evidence to the contrary.

What was also glossed over or missed altogether in the uproar over East Anglia was that AGW theory has been sustained on the back of one scientific fraud or sloppy and flawed research exercise after another. Yet astonishingly, it is still being promoted quite shamelessly by those for whom there can simply be no contradiction to the theory, and who thus project in turn all the falsehoods and frauds onto the skeptic side of the argument. It is surely the biggest exercise in totalitarian thought-reversal and reality-denial since Stalinism.

LOPEZ: If it is “demonstrably untrue” that “Bush lied, people died,” how has it taken root so deeply?

PHILLIPS: Through the refusal of a highly ideological media — composed of visceral Bush-haters, Israel-bashers, and transnational “progressives” — to report what was actually out there in terms of evidence or even follow the elementary rules of logic on the related topics of the Iraq war they had overwhelmingly opposed and the Islamic jihad they blamed on Israel. As a result, simple facts, such as the reasons Bush or Blair actually gave for the war or what the Iraq Survey Group actually found, were airbrushed out of the debate, and history was effectively rewritten — with virtually no dissent allowed.

LOPEZ: What is scientific triumphalism? Does harping on it make you anti-science?

PHILLIPS: Scientific triumphalism is the belief that scientific materialism alone has the answers to all the questions in the universe. This causes science to overreach beyond its proper realm, seeking to explain what is explicable, into claiming to explain what is inexplicable, which is properly the realm of religion. The attempt to use materialism to explain what it cannot explain causes promoters of scientism to become irrational. So pointing this out is certainly not anti-science. It is against the perversion of science.

LOPEZ: Is there a secular inquisition?

PHILLIPS: Yes. By that, I mean that secular ideologies such as environmentalism, anti-Americanism, anti-Zionism, scientism, moral relativism, multiculturalism, and so forth have a quasi-religious belief that they embody a revealed truth that cannot permit any challenge. And yet all these ideologies, which are militantly secular and which hold that religion is a source of irrationality and oppression, resemble to an uncanny degree the millenarian beliefs of Christianity in the Middle Ages and Islam through the ages; their dogmatic belief in a revealed truth of sin, guilt, and redemption caused heretics to be persecuted. Today, we have secular inquisitions in which heretics are also persecuted for expressing forbidden ideas that challenge the received assumption of “virtue”; thus we have the demonization of dissenters.

LOPEZ: What is the “Middle East Witch-Hunt”?

PHILLIPS: Medieval witch-hunts involved singling out certain women as scapegoats and then killing them for crimes of which they were innocent but of which they found themselves incapable of proving their innocence because the case against them was rigged. In Britain in particular, but also in parts of Europe and on American campuses (see the Mearsheimer/Walt calumny), there is an obsessive malice toward Israel which goes far beyond reasoned debate and has become a pathological scapegoating of a nation.

The treatment of Israel by the left-wing Western intelligentsia is unique in its irrationality and moral and historical inversion. It takes a nation that is the historic victim of aggression and blames it for jeopardizing peace in the region and causing Islamic extremism worldwide — despite demonstrable evidence that this is simply untrue. It accuses Israel, wholly falsely, of “apartheid” and ethnic cleansing when Israeli Arabs have full civil rights and the Palestinian population has increased many times over — and when Jews are excluded from parts of the Arab world (including the putative state of Palestine).

It takes a nation that has been under exterminatory attack for six decades (nine, if you include the Palestine Mandate) and insists that it make compromises with its attackers, even as they continue to attack it. And if any Jew dares protest at the manifest injustice, lies, and bigotry in this unique delegitimization, they find themselves accused of “dual loyalty” or being part of a covert global conspiracy to put the world at risk.

LOPEZ: With polls suggesting President Obama is hurting with Jewish voters, are there signs that Jewish voters may divorce themselves from the Left?

PHILLIPS: No; the world would surely stop turning on its axis were this to happen. More seriously, of course some may do so; and Orthodox Jews are already more inclined to vote Republican. But among liberal Jews, the most I would expect is a turning away from Obama — if even that — rather than a divorce from the Democratic party.

LOPEZ: Does the BBC hate Jews?

PHILLIPS: No, not Jews per se. The BBC simply embodies the world-view of the Left, which demonizes Israel and holds America responsible for Israel’s behavior. Of course, you might say that is itself a form of Jew-hatred, but that is an argument that needs to be unpacked.

LOPEZ: What can be done about anti-Semitism in the West? Elsewhere?

PHILLIPS: Jew-hatred, as I prefer to call it, can surely never be eradicated. But the lies that currently fuel it — lies about Israel’s behavior, the history of the Middle East, and so on — should be publicly confronted and exploded. Similarly, the ways in which the blood libels about the Jews pouring out of the Arab and Muslim worlds are poisoning minds not just in that world but in the West should also be prominently discussed, along with the continuity between the Arab/Palestinian agenda and that of the Nazis, whose allies they once were.

One of the main problems is the silence of Israel on this mass derangement in the West, and its failure to challenge it forensically and systematically. This has left an intellectual vacuum into which bigotry flows. While the irrationality of Jew-hatred cannot be defeated by reason, there are many in Britain and the West who are not natural bigots but are actually people of high-minded conscience, who have merely been indoctrinated with falsehoods about Israel that are never publicly challenged. Some of those people, at least, can certainly be reached by addressing their ignorance.

LOPEZ: Is relativism the problem? How do you combat it?

PHILLIPS: Relativism, or the belief that there is no hierarchy of values, not even truth over lies, is at the root of these problems. In my view, it is a product of aggressive secularism, and thus can only be addressed by a return to Judeo-Christian values and beliefs.

LOPEZ: What’s so special about Britain? Why and how is it at the forefront?

PHILLIPS: Britain is particularly godless, as discussed above. It is thus furthest advanced in social, cultural, and moral breakdown, hugely exacerbated by the loss of its belief in itself as a nation and the demoralization — in every sense — that has followed from that. But as the parent of the English-speaking world, it still punches culturally far above its weight. Where it leads today, others will surely follow. And since Britain was first into the Enlightenment and is now first out, America and the rest of the West should be concerned.

LOPEZ: How close behind — or ahead — is the U.S.?

PHILLIPS: The U.S. is relatively well protected through Middle America, which is still overwhelmingly God-fearing and committed to the American nation and its particular values. But all the things I’ve been talking about are nevertheless steadily encroaching. The culture wars have been raging in the U.S. for decades now, and the universities are particularly porous to these noxious ideologies. And then there’s Obama . . .

LOPEZ: Is the existence of the EU part of the problem?

PHILLIPS: The EU is the embodiment of the doctrine to which the Left now subscribes: “transnational progressivism,” or the belief that the nation is illegitimate and is trumped by supranational institutions and laws promoting the Brotherhood of Man through “universal” values. This is deeply anti-democratic and secularizing, standing against the particulars of creed or culture. So yes, the EU is both symptom and, partly, cause of this problem.

LOPEZ: What was the most alarming fact you learned during the course of writing your book?

PHILLIPS: The full extent of the persecution of dissidents from all these ideologies within the academy.

LOPEZ: What was the most consoling fact you learned during the course of writing The World Turned Upside Down?

PHILLIPS: That so many, many people throughout the West think as I do.

LOPEZ: If every reader took one action item from your book, what would you want it to be?

PHILLIPS: To make known the truth about the monstrous misrepresentation of Israel, the key and normative issue of our time from which so much else follows.

— Kathryn Jean Lopez is editor-at-large of National Review Online.

May 21, 2010 | 37 Comments »

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37 Comments / 37 Comments

  1. Ted

    This issue of Philips is more important than I thought at first.

    The more I read it I see her having made a wholesale and frontal attack on a whole layer or layers of people, based on faulty knowledge, much generalizing, and the result of that is bound to be the alienation from Israel of really broad and significant layers of people, especially youth I would say.

    While these are the very people who need to be won to Israel.

    I have made my mind up long ago so things like yamit claiming communism equals fascism does not change me, but this would not apply to all

    If I can be critical of you Ted. I admire the way you allow free discussion and that is good. But you always sit as if you are above the fray.

    But you are not. You are just like any of the rest of us and you should make it clear where you stand.

    Are you happy with what Bill Narvey said?

    Are you happy with Yamit82 calling Communists fascists?

  2. Bill

    My `point was that Philips was silent on Yugoslavia if not supportive of the repression of the Serbs, the overthrow of Milosevic etc.

    I did not mean she did not mention it in this interview.

    I mean her position in total.

    And that is the biggest issue in politics over the past 20 years, to equal the Jewish issue.

  3. Bill Narvey

    There are many Serb people, many youth in and from Eastern Europe, from Russia, from the left in general, who KNOW what did happen in Yugoslavia in slome detail, as indeed does Ted Belman.

    That was Judeo Christian ideology in action in so far as it is defined by Philips.

    people like you Bill do give this Israeli movement a very bad name. Really you kind of stink in the eyes of these youth. That is for sure.

    Israel can not win if it proceeds like you do Bill.

  4. Bill Narvey

    Maybe you do not see it but Philips has come in with a very definite agenda of her own, which I have made clear, she is not a plain sheet of paper.

    And she is anti a lot of things.

    As are you Bill Narvey. Even today you take an equiovocal position towards what happened in Yugoslavia, and all i can say to you is “Shame on you”.

    It is people like you Bill Narvey who give the Jewish struggle for Israel a bad name, a really stinkingly bad name.

    This is my quarrel with Philips. Not that she does not defend Israel, but she does this in HER way, and I question that way.

    Moreover there are many hundreds of millions who will have nothing to do with Philips and the views that she expresses here.

    Pro religious outlook

    sceptical towards science

    anti marxist

    anti the pro environment movement

    anti socialism

    These are views which concern and motivate hundreds of millions.

    Israel needs to be very, very careful who are its friends.

    Having somebody like Bill Narvey is going to do Israel, and Jews, no good at all. There is a very wide layer of youth who understand what happened in Yugoslavia, that the US supported Izetbegovic, who we know was a member of the Muslim Brothjerhood at the same time in Bosnia that Hajj Amin el Husseini was carrying through the Holocaust, and that he was necessarily allied with hajj Amin el Husseini in this.

    You see Bill Narvey you do give Israel a really bad name in things you write on this.

    And the irony is that Israel itslef was generally pro Serb

    Also if Yamit82 is a Jewish patriot then he will not make statements claiming that communism is Fascism.

    Not that I am offended. I know what I am and I know the position of 4international towards Israel.

    But not all would be so generous and you yamit82 also give Israel a really bad image.

    You are in the same category in this…Philips, narvey, Yamit82

  5. How would Rahm Emanuel react if during his son’s bar mitzvah visit to Israel the Netanyahu government suddenly agreed to Obama’s demands and removed all the checkpoints that prevent Palestinians from murdering Jewish children?

    Netanyahu should take the opportunity to ask Emanuel that question publicly.

  6. It’s not rocket science, Ayn. Ms. Phillips scorns environmentalism as just one member of a long list of silly perfectionist fixations. Those of us living in reality know it’s no such thing, but rather a (perhaps futile) attempt to save life on Earth from extinction.

    Do I detect a lot of hyperbole here? The Human race is not on the verge of extinction from any man made ecological mismanagement. I can name many natural everyday occurrences that effect our ecology more than any man-made misuse.

    If you are so concerned then advocate reducing the worlds population by 2/3. This can be done through pandemic uncontrolled, voluntarily and WAR of the CBN variety. I go for war relatively quick, basic results can be seen and then controlled and it is compatible with human nature.

  7. Actually BP has the ability to cap the well permanently but they don’t want to. They have billions invested and more billions to be extracted from this well and the area leased to them. If they cap it they lose their investment and lose the lease that won’t now be renewed. It could bankrupt BP. So they are looking for ways to control the leak without a permanent capping.

    I wonder who BP’s insures are? They are into billions worth of claims.

    Ecology is important but should not be on the level of a cult, polluters should be made to pay for the cleanups. Commonsense is more valuable than mass hysteria and political demagoguery.

  8. That unlike other unseen creatures like the unicorn and the leprechaun, moderate Muslims are not mythological beings.

    Whenever radical Muslims threaten infidels, moderate Muslims remain silent.

    The German people were not responsible for Hitler and Nazism either but except for the punishment of losing the war The Germans actually

    profited from that war.

    The world set the standard for the future when they let the German people off the hook and allowed them to profit from their war of aggression.

    and their genocide against the Jews.

    The world and Muslims learned another important lesson that their is no penalty for Killing Jews. The Muslims understand the Lesson, the Jews

    still haven’t.

  9. The Green political parties of Europe and North America are anti-capitalist and anti-Semitic.</bloc

    They are followers of Trotsky. Seems I've heard that name before or was it Lev Davidovich Bronstein,aka as (Snowball the pig in George Orwell's allegorical 1945 novel Animal Farm… )

    Felix why don't you tell everyone how your god betrayed his own parents.

  10. It is important to distinguish between people who advocate responsible environmental policies and the Al Gore Green movement.

    Phillips is referencing what Mark Levin has often mentioned; that in many cases those who today call themselves green used to call themselves red.

    The environmental movement has become much like the civil rights and women’s rights and gay rights movements.

    They have discarded their original mission statements in favor of promoting the left wing party line.

    This explains the hysterical anti-Zionism of the liberal advocacy groups whose stated objectives have nothing to do with Israel.

    Phillips is right to identify the organized environmental movement as being fascistic.

    It is merely an adjunct of leftism.

    The Green political parties of Europe and North America are anti-capitalist and anti-Semitic.

  11. Andy, leaving aside your view that Phillips lives in an unreal world as regards environmentalism, what are your thoughts regarding everything else she covered. Is she in the real world on those other views?

  12. Felix,you are singing way off key.

    Phillips is not the 1st pundit whose articles have appeared on Israpundit who have not incorporated reference to the Serbs. She is not the 1st pundit whose views you have ignored and instead expressed your umbrage at their failing to reference the Serb-Bosnian wars in their comments, especially the history of those wars as you believe it to be.

    In doing so you consistently imply the pundit was either deliberate in avoiding reference to that history, especially your accepted version of history or they are just too plain stupid to see the connection.

    Your one track mind Felix gets you nowhere, other then to use Israpundit as your soapbox for the version of the Yugoslav, Serb/Bosnian wars that you are obsessed with advocating.

    That still gets you nowhere.

  13. LOPEZ: What does a self-described “agnostic” care about God?
    PHILLIPS: You don’t have to be a religious believer to understand that if religion — more specifically, the Hebrew Bible and the Christianity that built upon it — underpins Western civilization and the codes of right and wrong — putting others above yourself, freedom and equality, and belief in reason — that form the bedrock of that civilization, then eroding or destroying that religion will erode or destroy those virtues and the civilization they distinguish.

    Excuse me, the Hebrew Bible and Christianity creates a situation where reason rules, “belief in reason”.
    In what way do these two promote belief in reason. We are all ears!
    Freedom and Equality. Where? When?

    LOPEZ: You write that progressives, Islamists,environmentalists, fascists, militant atheists, and religious fanatics are “united by a common desire to bring about through human agency the perfection of the world.” Is this becoming more apparent?
    PHILLIPS: It may seem strange to lump all these ideologies together since they are all so different. But, when you look at them, it is immediately apparent that they are all at root utopian, millenarian visions of the perfection of the world through human agency — the age-old recipe for totalitarian terror. The idea that fascism is in a wholly different place from the Left is in my view quite misplaced: Although conventionally one is described as “right” and the other as “left,” this is historically and philosophically inaccurate; they share common roots in the repudiation of individual reason and liberty.
    One of the mysteries of the age is the way “progressives” who fetishize sexual freedom, gay rights, female equality, and the like march shoulder to shoulder with Islamists who stone adulterers, kill gays, and subjugate women. They share a common desire to destroy the cultural traditions and normative values of the West — all in the cause of creating the perfect society, which creates in turn a totalitarian mindset, which links religious fanatics and the political tyrannies of both Communism and fascism.
    To some of us, this is very apparent — but many who are in the grip of these delusions are frighteningly incapable of understanding what it is that they don’t understand.

    Really! Fascism and Marxism from the same root, which is a desire to have humans create a perfect world. How about an imperfect world, just one as good as it can be, as good as humans can make it. (as my friend above deals with the basic dangers from capitalism to the environment that Philips sneers at)

    Would that be a wrong wish to have.

    I think the Philips method is right out the window with the dish water first thing we do, just on this mistaken idea of Philips that a socialist is looking for “perfection”, a very loaded concept and one quite untrue, because a Marxist Revolutionary, a socialist will subscribe not to perfection but will like the second proposal much better.

    Make it better. Not perfect. Because perfection in this ordinary and non supernatural world is really a pipedream. MAN CAN NEVER TOTALLY MASTER NATURE, for the simple reason that man is part of nature, as well as being in conflict with it. The unity and conflict, as well as the principle of matter in continual motion, means there can never be a time when “Presto Magic Hey perfection!” arrives.
    How can we learn about the world, how can we change it for the better. First of all by scientific theory, secondly by scientific action.
    But Philips replaces this by another concept “scientism”. Dunno what she means by that!
    Without her stating her position on the first, on science, that seems leading to needless confusion.
    Philips in her list also includes “environmentalism” but that seems to be the same thing. She is just confused.
    LOPEZ: Why do you put the word “progressives” in quotation marks?

    PHILLIPS: Glad you asked that! Because there’s nothing progressive about the totalitarian fanatics of the Left, even though they claim that label for themselves. One of our biggest problems is the hijacking of language by the Left, which has turned words such as “liberal,” “tolerant,” and “progressive” into their very opposites. I do believe in being progressive in the true sense — the authentic, classical-liberal goal of creating a better society by encouraging the good and discouraging the bad. But to achieve that, we have to reclaim the language of social progress for its true meaning, which is based on a proper differentiation between right and wrong, truth and lies, justice and injustice. Until we do that, we allow ourselves to be co-opted into the discourse of moral and intellectual inversion, and we allow the lunatics to run the asylum.
    I do hope that this language is not politically incorrect.

    Reply
    Cannot figure out what Philips is on about. Is she saying that fascism and Socialism are the same, and the practitioners of both are the same.
    What meaning does she give to the term “totalitarian”???
    What meaning to the term “socialist revolution”???

    How does Philips defend this theory of hers, that socialism and fascism are the same in reference to concrete and specific reality, say the Russian revolution of 1917, say the coming of Hitler to power reference the Enabling Act of 1933.
    If there was a comparision done on these concrete issues by Philips then there may be some clarity to her statement that socialism and fascism are the same.

    The following bits of the conversation which deal with the likes of Obama and the Media Campaign which brought him to power, way out conspiracy theories, the tendency towards geek theories about the world, astrology, the Princess Di experience with grown people crying who had saw her only on a TV screen, indeed these are things worth talking about, but Philips does not provide an explanation, because Philips herself does not understand the real meaning of ideology, and the class roots to ideology. As I said Philips removed herself from the Serb hatred stirred up within western society. Or put it another way…she explains nothing in this field.

    A silly woman really.

    A woman who is losing her senses.

    A woman who is at the end of her tether.

    A woman who could not lead her way out of a wet paper bag, at a time when the Jewish people need clear and practical leadership.

    A woman who in the above says that the BBC is not anti-Semitic which is one of the weirdest things I EVER heard, especially when my mind goes back to that BBC journalist crying on air at Arafat´s funeral.
    (Ask here does Philips appear ever on BBC programs and does she get paid for said appearances)

    On that basis alone, claiming the BBC is not anti-Semitic, the woman is MAD!

  14. The whole interview is conducted in the general. All the terms are generalities.

    Philips was silent on all of the lies that were promulgated against the Serb people, silent on the bombing of Yugoslavia, silent on the patent fraud that was the so-called Srebrenica massacre, silent on the 3000 plus Serb small farming people murdered in the most gruesome manner by nasir Oric, silent on the interview which was conducted with Nasir Oric by a Canadian newspaper in which he showed video to the reporter boasting about these murders, silent on the fraudulent elections in Serbia bought and paid for by George Soros money, silent on the abduction of Milosevic from his home and transfer illegally to the Hague, silent on the refusal to allow Milosevic medical treatment in Russia, silent on the literal poisoning of Milosevic in his NATO cell which killed him, silent when it was happening of the support for the West for the Holocaust Muslim Brotherhood colleague of Hajj Amin el Husseini while the Holocaust was in full operation in the Balkans, silent on the promotion by the West of Tudjman, who was an anti-Semite. But we will see that Philips only talks in generalities. That enables her to make her unsubstantiated claims in the interview. Lopez the interviewer plays right into this dishonest method of Philips from the very first to last question. Note the reference to the current mass departure from “rationality”. What is this, where is it, who is doing the departing etc? It is a general statement, totally meaningless. Jim may be departing from reality, John across the street may be very much seeking to embrace rationalism and be very opposed to the blinkered approach of Jim and so on.

    KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ: What’s notable about the current “apparent mass departure from rationality”?

    MELANIE PHILLIPS: What I have found so striking is that, in this supposed age of reason, there is such an implacable refusal, over a wide and disparate range of issues, to acknowledge the authority of factual evidence over opinion, or distinguish truth from propaganda and lies, or differentiate between justice and injustice, victim and victimizer. More than that, this phenomenon is confined to the supposed custodians of reason, the intelligentsia; and some of the most prominent of these often-militant “rationalists” propound assertions that are demonstrably irrational.

    Even more striking is that this repudiation of reason is associated with the most fashionable and progressive causes — anti-imperialism, anti-Americanism, anti-Zionism, environmentalism, moral and cultural relativism, multiculturalism, scientism. Yet they promote not just irrationality but a return to primitivism, pre-modern levels of social disorder, and the persecution of dissenters.

    Philips makes a list. She calls things on this list causes which are fashionable and progressive

    Let us take these one by one

    ANTI-IMPERIALISM
    Before you talk about this in any way it is necessary to define it. This Philips does not do. She lumps it in with her list.
    If Imperialism is a very bad and dangerous phenomenon then to be opposed to Imperialism is not a trendy activity at all, not “progressive”, but rather it is is a necessity to be opposed

    ANTI-AMERICANISM
    America is in two parts. There is American capitalism, transformed into the dominant Imperialist nation in the world.
    There is also the American working class, the great majority of the people.
    Any logical and rational system of thinking will at least acknowledge that. The phrase anti-Americanism is quite an empty one. We do not know which of the two that Philips is talking about here.

    There is also the gains made in the great American revolution, one of which is the strict separation of religion and state.
    Those gains have to be defended but Philips is not specific on this, nor on who is doing the defending.

    ANTI.ZIONISM
    Philips throws this in to her list. Zionism is the rightful national liberation struggle of the Jewish people to return to their Homeland which they were expelled from by the powerful and ruthless Roman Empire 2000 years ago. This in itself is connected to the Jewish religion, Judaism.
    Who would be against this? Antisemites I think is the answer to this!
    Philips is unclear as to who she is talking about.

    SCIENTISM
    There are others but I chose this one to wind up on Philip´s list above because it is so strange sounding. Why does not Philips not just say “science”. What connotation does scientism have that science does not.
    What is science? Philips does not define. What is scientism? Does Philips mean a phoney science, in which case it is phoney equals false, therefore not science at all!

    Where on earth is Philips leading with all of this?

  15. It’s not rocket science, Ayn. Ms. Phillips scorns environmentalism as just one member of a long list of silly perfectionist fixations. Those of us living in reality know it’s no such thing, but rather a (perhaps futile) attempt to save life on Earth from extinction.

  16. Andy Lewis says:
    May 23, 2010 at 1:46 am

    LOPEZ: You write that progressives, Islamists, environmentalists, fascists, militant atheists, and religious fanatics are “united by a common desire to bring about through human agency the perfection of the world.” Is this becoming more apparent?

    It’s called the Gulf oil spill, Melanie. Check into it.

    Whadda stupid fuckhead.

    I read this comment several times attempting to decipher its hidden wisdom.

    Alas, the only result is that my head is now whirling like a dervish.

  17. Ayn, the so called moderate Muslim doesn’t exist, the reason there is silence. Of course the silence could be a self induced protective mechanism for self preservation.

  18. LOPEZ: You write that progressives, Islamists, environmentalists, fascists, militant atheists, and religious fanatics are “united by a common desire to bring about through human agency the perfection of the world.” Is this becoming more apparent?

    It’s called the Gulf oil spill, Melanie. Check into it.

    Whadda stupid fuckhead.

  19. Let’s take a leap of faith and assume that moderate Muslims exist.

    That unlike other unseen creatures like the unicorn and the leprechaun, moderate Muslims are not mythological beings.

    Whenever radical Muslims threaten infidels, moderate Muslims remain silent.

    Whenever radical Muslims seek to stifle dissent through violence, moderate Muslims remain silent.

    And whenever radical Muslims commit mass murder, moderate Muslims remain silent.

    Moderate Muslims – assuming they exist – are enablers of evil.

    As such, they are completely unworthy of the tortuous contortions that Americans perform to avoid offending them.

    It is irrational to avoid offending people who are not offended by rioting and torture and murder.

    And it is inconsistent with survival.

  20. 1. support Israel
    2. characterize islam as fascist
    3. defend the scientific and rational method

    How do you support Israel? as opposed to what?

    Islam might be fascist

    Communism is fascist

    Some say the Catholic church is fascist, seems there are many kinds of and opinions as to who and what is fascist.

    defend the scientific method or do you defend modern science? Science is nice. I also support science and believe in a supreme being and see no contradiction. As a matter of fact many mainstream scientists today are coming back to where theologions have always been.

    In the beginning ….!! If you challenge me on this I can prove the existence of G-d. You can’t prove the converse. If you challenge me I can destroy rationally and scientifically all of your beliefs in communism and atheism .

    Be a Man challenge me!

  21. The real problem in Britain is not Islam but the vacuum in British culture which Islam is opportunistically attempting to fill. That vacuum has been caused by the retreat and surrender of the Christian church under the tide of secularism and aggressive atheism. This has opened the door not to an age of reason but to an epidemic of paganism — environmentalism, or worship of the earth, is the most conspicuous example, but there’s lots of other absurd stuff, too, such as seances, crystals, astrology, and the like. The Islamization of Britain is only taking place because the spiritual playing field has been abandoned to hyper-individualism and irrationality.

    This woman is quite mixed up. A little mad actually

    very confused herself and definitely confusing to anybody who even half begins to take her seriously.

    It is no accident at all that karl Marx and his friend Engels were full of enthusiasm for the discoveries made by Charles Darwin, and they were atheists, and as atheist revolutionaries were based on the ability of mankind to master their environment.

    As somebody who defends israel, defends the rights of Jews to live in peace unmolested by antisemitism, I have little in common with melanie Philips. She is engaging here in a wholesale attack on science and ont he scientific method.

    the one lie that she does promote here, is that she is claiming that groups like the Socialist Workers Party, and the rest, are somehow seriously revolutionary communist movements. This is false.

    There have been many serious divisions inside the socialist or left movement. For example between SWtalinism and trotskyism. This phenomenon of division is not exclusive to us. It is the way that things develop.

    But Philips does not deal with this. She does not deal with the political position of us on 4international.

    (www.4international.wordpress.com)

    read that blog and you will find revolutionary socialists who

    1. support Israel
    2. characterize islam as fascist
    3. defend the scientific and rational method

  22. A big earthquake with the strength of 8.1 on the Richter Scale has hit Pakistan .
    Two million Pakistanis have died and over a million are injured.
    The country is totally ruined and the government doesn’t know where to start with providing help to rebuild.
    The rest of the world is in shock.
    The USA is sending troops to help.
    Saudi Arabia is sending oil.
    Latin American countries are sending supplies.
    New Zealand is sending sheep, cattle and food crops.
    The Asian continents are sending labor to assist in rebuilding infrastructure.
    Australia is sending medical teams and supplies.
    Britain, not to be outdone, is sending two million Pakistanis as replacements…

    God Bless British generosity.

  23. “The past is erased, the erasure is forgotten and the lie becomes truth” and more and more people forget that it ever was or could be different.

  24. continued:

    On December 20, 2007 the Israeli Minister of Housing (big government rules everything, everywhere; no one can do anything or live anywhere without its say so) announced that apartments for ten to fifteen thousand people would be built in Atarot, the northernmost section of Jerusalem. In June 1967, after Jordan the war on Israel, the Jews counterattacked and regained all of Judea and Samaria, including Atarot.

    During the subsequent forty years, a small civilian airport and industrial zone were built but few dwellings. With most of Judea and Samaria, and parts of Jerusalem about to be given, at the orders of American rulers and the other great powers, to Arabs who exist to murder Jews, and are paid and armed by the West to do so, some of the chosen people thought it might be okay to build up a part of Jerusalem left to them.

  25. LOPEZ: If every reader took one action item from your book, what would you want it to be?

    PHILLIPS: To make known the truth about the monstrous misrepresentation of Israel, the key and normative issue of our time from which so much else follows.

    So he lived for many years…in visible glory, honored by the world yet troubled in spirit by its perversion of the truth… To fight against this lack of understanding, against a whole world of non-understanding was impossible… Everywhere, as if by secret agreement, a positive revulsion from professional fasting was in evidence [and] it was now too late to take any counter-measures
    Franz Kafka, “A Hunger Artist” (1922 , first published 1924)

    Yes, the position of the children of Israel has become untenable, too late for any counter measures to the subservience of its rulers to foreign powers and faiths, subservience masked as a quest for peace. And yes, the past is all but gone; traditions, attitudes, rules in economics and family relations are radically changed. “We live in a different world now” and spiritual matters, much less their integration with the substance of daily life, rhythms and events, the true work of Judaism and Israel is being driven from the stage,dumped to make way for the predators appetites.

  26. LOPEZ: If every reader took one action item from your book, what would you want it to be?

    PHILLIPS: To make known the truth about the monstrous misrepresentation of Israel, the key and normative issue of our time from which so much else follows.

    So he lived for many years…in visible glory, honored by the world yet troubled in spirit by its perversion of the truth… To fight against this lack of understanding, against a whole world of non-understanding was impossible… Everywhere, as if by secret agreement, a positive revulsion from professional fasting was in evidence [and] it was now too late to take any counter-measures
    Franz Kafka, “A Hunger Artist” (1922 , first published 1924)

    Yes, the position of the children of Israel has become untenable, too late for any counter measures to the subservience of its rulers to foreign powers and faiths, subservience masked as a quest for peace. And yes, the past is all but gone; traditions, attitudes, rules in economics and family relations are radically changed. “We live in a different world now” and spiritual matters, much less their integration with the substance of daily life, rhythms and events, the true work of Judaism and Israel is being driven from the stage,dumped to make way for the predators appetites.

    On December 20, 2007 the Israeli Minister of Housing (big government rules everything, everywhere; no one can do anything or live anywhere without its say so) announced that apartments for ten to fifteen thousand people would be built in Atarot, the northernmost section of Jerusalem. In June 1967, after Jordan the war on Israel, the Jews counterattacked and regained all of Judea and Samaria, including Atarot.

    During the subsequent forty years, a small civilian airport and industrial zone were built but few dwellings. With most of Judea and Samaria, and parts of Jerusalem about to be given, at the orders of American rulers and the other great powers, to Arabs who exist to murder Jews, and are paid and armed by the West to do so, some of the chosen people thought it might be okay to build up a part of Jerusalem left to them.

    Wrong: top American officials barked over the phones and to the media and the very next day the Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, and shamefaced Housing Minister of the client state agreed that no housing for Jews would be build in Atarot. The 1948 seizure of all of Judaism’s holiest sites and destruction of many others, so key to the Vatican remains the basis from which the further reduction of Israel will proceed.

    The glory of the land will not be permitted by a world brutally non-accepting of Jews, One can appease an alienated brother but not a foreign tyrant intoxicated with its own pretensions of divine power.

    And so the past is erased, the erasure is forgotten and the lie becomes truth. (1984) The world is different, self-denial is not in fashion and in most places it’s a parody of the life it was meant to ennoble: the one nation where this is not so undergoes the process of erasure that began millennia ago. More and more people forget that it ever was or could be different.

  27. Melanie Phillips and Caroline Glick are the two columnists that I make a point of reading on a regular basis.

  28. LOPEZ: If every reader took one action item from your book, what would you want it to be?

    PHILLIPS: To make known the truth about the monstrous misrepresentation of Israel, the key and normative issue of our time from which so much else follows.

    Melanie Phillips is an extraordinarily important commentator who defies the enormous pressure to conform to the deceitful narrative which casts villains as victims and vice versa.

    Israel is the front line in the war against the fascism of Islamists and their liberal enablers.

    The Jews want to live.

    The Muslims want to kill them.

    The Left supports the Muslims.

    Anti-Semites desperately try to make it more complicated than that.

    But it is just that simple.

    Good versus evil.

    As during the Cold War.

    And as during the Cold War, liberals have opted for evil.