Les « Woke » ne sont pas de gauche

2020-09-18
2020-09-24 : Quelques corrections de syntaxe, etc.

La soi-disant « gauche » régressive, connue couramment comme les « woke », ne fait pas partie de la gauche politique. Elle a quitté la gauche au moment où elle a renoncé aux valeurs des Lumières.

English This blog has already been published in English, in two parts: The “Woke” are Not the Political Left, Part I and Part II.

L’expression « woke » relève de l’argot des Afro-Américains et veut dire politiquement éveillé, politiquement conscient, surtout en matière de justice sociale. Mais, depuis un certain temps, ce terme a acquis une signification bien plus large et fait désormais référence au courant de pensée qui prédomine dans la politique ostensiblement de gauche aux États-Unis, au Canada et dans plusieurs autres pays. (En français, quand on parle de la « gauche bien-pensante », « diversitaire » ou « intersectionnelle », il s’agit de ce mouvement qui s’appellerait « woke » en anglais.) Pourtant, cette école de pensée n’est en réalité pas de la gauche politique car elle a abandonné les valeurs des Lumières.

Ces idéaux des Lumières comprennent la raison, la tolérance, la liberté, le progrès, l’universalisme, les droits humains et la laïcité. Pris collectivement, on les appelle couramment le modernisme. Les Lumières nous ont donné une grande partie de ce que nous tenons pour acquis aujourd’hui. Ses produits sont nombreux et comprennent le concept des droits de la personne, l’abolition de l’esclavage, le libéralisme, le marxisme, la science et la technologie modernes, la Constitution américaine, la Déclaration des droits de l’homme et du citoyen (France, 1789) et la loi sur la laïcité (France, 1905), la Déclaration universelle des droits de l’homme des Nations Unies et bien plus encore.

Les origines de la gauche et de la droite politiques

Rappelons que les termes « gauche » et « droite » au sens politique trouvent leur origine dans la disposition des sièges à l’Assemblée nationale constituante pendant la Révolution française à partir de 1789. Les députés assis du côté gauche de la chambre étaient en général des sympathisants de la révolution, du républicanisme et de la laïcité, tandis que ceux du côté droit restaient plutôt fidèles à la monarchie, au clergé et aux institutions traditionnelles de l’Ancien régime. Ces deux pôles correspondent grosso modo soit à un appui pour les valeurs des Lumières, soit à une opposition à celles-ci, les Lumières étant un mouvement intellectuel et philosophique qui s’était répandu dans toute l’Europe durant environ un siècle. En effet, la Révolution française était elle-même un produit de ce mouvement, tout comme les révolutions américaine, haïtienne et russe.

Ainsi, la gauche politique fait référence à ceux qui appuyaient les valeurs des Lumières tandis que la droite politique englobait ceux qui s’y opposaient. Le même schéma général s’applique aujourd’hui. La gauche et la droite politiques sont définies respectivement par le soutien et l’opposition aux idéaux des Lumières. Si un courant de gauche abandonne ces idéaux, alors il n’est plus de gauche. Telle est la situation du « wokisme », si je peux l’appeler ainsi, également connu par plusieurs autres surnoms tels que « la (pseudo)gauche régressive » et, mon terme préféré, la « pseudogauche anti-Lumières ». Il ne reste plus grand-chose de gauche chez les « woke » sauf leur prétention. Leur mentalité est devenue dominante parmi ceux qui se disent de la gauche et même du centre. Il ne reste (presque) plus de (réelle) gauche.

Les racines politiques et philosophiques du « wokisme »

La mentalité « woke » s’appuie sur un certain nombre de sources politiques et philosophiques :

  • L’Intersectionnalité, une obsession pour les identités personnelles, en particulier les identités minoritaires, et qui revient à un système de points simpliste pour déterminer qui a la chance d’avoir le plus de points d’oppression.
  • Le Multiculturalisme, ou le relativisme culturel, une idéologie politique anti-universaliste qui accorde davantage d’importance à l’appartenance ethnique ou religieuse de l’individu qu’à ses droits universels ou sa citoyenneté.
  • Le Postmodernisme, une philosophie associée au relativisme culturel et inspirée par un scepticisme à l’égard des idées modernistes d’objectivité, de rationalisme et de savoir.
  • Le Défaitisme post-marxiste, une dégénérescence du marxisme, résultant de l’incapacité du marxisme à tenir sa promesse d’un avenir plus lumineux basé sur les idéaux des Lumières. Cela a conduit à blâmer et à rejeter les Lumières elles-mêmes. Aussi connu sous le nom de néo-marxisme, de marxisme culturel ou de post-marxisme culturel.
  • L’Islamogauchisme, une extension du point précédent, une dégénérescence supplémentaire du post-marxisme, dans laquelle la priorité traditionnellement accordée à la classe et à l’économie est désormais remplacée par la défense des minorités, en particulier des musulmans.

Ainsi, la mentalité « woke » dérive, en partie du moins, de la pensée gauchiste, mais elle en est une perversion et une dégénérescence. En particulier, le « wokisme » n’est pas marxiste. Le bilan du marxisme regorge de conséquences négatives et douteuses, mais vous ne pouvez pas tenir le marxisme responsable des folies des « woke ». Pour le dire succinctement, la mentalité « woke » est une sorte de « post-gauchisme » qui se résume approximativement à un mélange de post-marxisme et de postmodernisme.

L’auteur américain James Lindsay, qui a étudié en profondeur ces questions, résume ainsi la situation :

Le marxisme est une théorie sociale basée sur l’économie, et la théorie de la « Critical Social Justice » usurpe en fait l’analyse économique et l’obscurcit pour l’utiliser au service de son approche particulière de la politique identitaire. Pour être plus précis à ce sujet, par exemple, il est extrêmement évident que les causes économiques sont à l’origine de nombreux phénomènes que les théoriciens critiques de la race appellent le « racisme systémique », mais ils utilisent le fait qu’il existe des différences statistiques économiques selon la race pour affirmer que le racisme (et non l’exploitation capitaliste) seraient les causes ultimes de ces différences. Ainsi, ils instrumentalisent la classe pour y substituer le site d’oppression sur lequel ils sont en fait obsessionnellement focalisés, c’est-à-dire la race, et effacent ainsi toute possibilité d’analyse libérale, rationnelle, voire matérialiste ou marxiste des problèmes sous-jacents. (Trad. D.R.)

The Complex Relationship Between Marxism and Wokeness (La relation complexe entre marxisme et wokisme)

Parareligion

Le « wokisme » à son pire peut être qualifié de parareligion moderne. Selon ma définition, une parareligion est une idéologie qui n’est pas une religion au strict sens du terme, car l’aspect surnaturel y est absent, mais qui néanmoins se comporte quelque peu comme une religion en manifestant quelques-unes des caractéristiques suivantes, typiques des religions :

  • Le dogmatisme, un rejet de la raison.
  • Une tendance à faire des assertions non falsifiables, c’est-à-dire des hypothèses qui ne peuvent jamais être réfutées et sont donc dénuées de sens. Exemple : « Dieu » est responsable de tout : si de bonnes choses arrivent, alors remercions « Dieu » — cependant dans le cas d’un événement malheureux, on dit que les voies du « Seigneur » sont mystérieuses.
  • Le manichéisme, une vision du monde divisée en bien et mal absolus, niant les nuances morales et les ambiguïtés.
  • Le moralisme ou la moraline, une obsession pour la moralité personnelle, niant encore une fois les complexités morales.
  • Des privilèges accordés aux adhérents, s’opposant ainsi à l’universalisme.
  • Le culte de la personnalité, soit le culte des dieux ou des déesses, soit la déification des dirigeants humains.
  • Etc.

Voici un exemple de parareligion : le communisme autoritaire du genre stalinien, maoïste ou nord-coréen, où le dogmatisme et le culte de la personnalité sont particulièrement en évidence. Diverses pseudosciences comme l’homépathie, l’astrologie, etc. et plusieurs théories complotistes peuvent aussi être qualifiées de parareligions.

La Parareligion des « woke »

La parareligion des « woke » affiche la plupart des caractéristiques énumérées ci-dessus (mais sans le culte de la personnalité). Elle est extrêmement dogmatique, manichéenne et moraliste. Bien qu’elle prétende valoriser la « diversité », elle s’oppose fanatiquement à toute diversité intellectuelle et tout débat d’idées. Ce fanatisme se manifeste dans la soi-disant « cancel culture » qui se résume à la censure sociale de toute personne qui ne soit pas d’accord avec les dogmes « woke » ou dont le comportement aurait été jugé moralement douteux (sommairement, sans traitement équitable). Les « woke » affichent une hostilité obsessionnelle aux gens qu’ils considèrent privilégiés (les Blancs, les hommes, etc.) et ont comme programme de privilégier en revanche l’autre pôle. Ainsi, ils accordent aux minorités raciales et autres, voire aux minorités religieuses comme les musulmans, des prévenances particulières, tout comme le judaïsme prenait les Hébreux pour peuple élu de dieu. Cette manie implique l’abandon de l’universalisme qui prône l’égalité de tous et de toutes, sans égard à la race, le sexe, etc.

Le mouvement « antiraciste » « woke » est anti-universaliste et raciste

Les « woke » ont une obsession pour les minorités et pour l’identité personnelle, au détriment de notre humanité commune. L’intersectionnalité combinée au multiculturalisme et aux autres ingrédients de la mentalité woke créent un mélange toxique qui accorde une trop grande importance aux minorités et amène au mépris des majorités et de l’universel. Certaines minorités sont favorisées obsessivement et jouissent d’une quasi impunité, tandis que les majorités correspondantes sont dénigrées. Ainsi, le mouvement antiraciste actuel est lui-même devenu raciste. En outre, de manière véritablement parareligieuse, les soi-disant antiracistes les plus extrêmes prônent l’hypothèse non-falsifiable que le racisme serait littéralement omniprésent. Au lieu de se demander si le racisme serait présent dans une situation donnée, ils demandent plutôt « Où est le racisme ici ? » en supposant qu’il n’est jamais absent. Le résultat est une politique de culpabilité et de paranoïa. Cette approche est absurde, car si le racisme est toujours présent, alors ce mot perd tout sens objectif.

Remontons un demi-siècle ou plus dans le temps, à l’époque du mouvement des droits civils, si essentiel pour la lutte contre le racisme anti-Noirs aux États-Unis, en particulier dans les États du sud. Les opposants de droite accusaient parfois les militants antiracistes de « racisme inversé » contre les non-Noirs. De même, à l’apogée du féminisme de deuxième vague, ceux qui s’opposaient à l’égalité des sexes accusaient parfois les féministes de haïr les hommes. Dans les deux cas, il s’agissait de tentatives évidentes de dénigrer la lutte antiraciste et le féminisme. Personne n’a été dupe d’une telle tromperie évidente. Les deux mouvements étaient universalistes, promouvant l’égalité des droits pour les Noirs et pour les femmes sans s’attaquer aux non-Noirs ou aux hommes. Cependant, la situation est aujourd’hui bien différente. Compte tenu de l’obsession identitaire, en particulier de l’identité minoritaire qui caractérise la mentalité « woke », le dénigrement des Blancs, des hommes et des autres groupes non minoritaires est devenu la norme.

Les « woke » s’attaquent aux privilèges au lieu de lutter contre la discrimination

L’une des maximes de la mentalité « woke » est le concept de « privilège blanc ». C’est comme faire de l’antiracisme à reculons. Si les soi-disant Blancs ont l’avantage de ne pas être cibles de discrimination, ce n’est pas un privilège ; c’est plutôt un droit, un droit humain fondamental. Si les Noirs sont discriminés, ce n’est pas un manque de privilège, mais plutôt un déni de droits. L’approche correcte à l’antiracisme est de promouvoir l’égalité des droits pour tous, universellement, quel que soit le groupe racial, et de s’opposer à la discrimination contre tout groupe. Mettre l’accent sur le privilège blanc mène à une politique de culpabilité et de ressentiment, renforçant indirectement la droite politique.

Au lieu de l’égalité, c’est-à-dire l’égalité des chances, les « woke » prônent l’équité, ce qui implique l’égalité des résultats. De plus, si l’égalité des résultats n’est pas atteinte, et ce n’est pratiquement jamais le cas, les « woke » supposent généralement que la cause de cette situation doit forcément être un préjugé comme le racisme ou le sexisme. Ainsi, si une profession ne présente pas la même diversité démographique que la population générale, on suppose que les préjugés en sont la cause. C’est irrationnel car, comme l’explique James Lindsay :

cela est littéralement impossible sans une ingénierie sociale à grande échelle comprenant des quotas forcés. (La variation stochastique, c’est-à-dire le bruit aléatoire dans le système, devrait rendre un alignement parfait avec les pourcentages démographiques dominants extrêmement improbable, après tout, même si le système était parfaitement exempt de différence et de discrimination de toutes sortes.) Cela signifie que « l’équité » implique l’utilisation des quotas fondés sur l’identité et une ingénierie sociale vigoureuse pour les atteindre. (Trad. D.R.)

The Diversity Delusion (L’illusion de la diversité)

C’est à cause de cette imposture que James Damore a été renvoyé par Google. Il a rédigé un document plutôt inoffensif dans lequel il suggérait qu’une partie de l’explication du faible nombre de femmes dans les postes de développement de logiciels pourrait être les préférences des femmes. En d’autres termes, le sexisme n’est peut-être pas la seule explication. Mais de telles idées sont un blasphème pour les « woke », alors Damore a été congédié.

Les « woke » s’opposent à la laïcité

Cet abandon des idéaux des Lumières et ce rejet des valeurs de gauche par les « woke » arrivent à leur apogée avec l’opposition des « woke » à la laïcité. Leur obsession pour les minorités s’étend même aux minorités religieuses. Les « woke » ont tendance à confondre race et religion, ce qui revient à jeter par-dessus bord la liberté de conscience et à condamner chaque individu à la religion dans laquelle il a eu la malchance de naître. Cette racialisation de l’appartenance religieuse fait le jeu des fondamentalistes, en particulier des islamistes.

Avec l’ajout de l’islamogauchisme au mélange « woke », les musulmans, surtout les plus pieux et même les fondamentalistes, se voient accorder une priorité spéciale et une impunité. Cela conduit à une complaisance extrême à l’égard de l’islam et de l’islamisme. La soi-disant « islamophobie » est condamnée. L’ensemble du processus est rendu encore plus toxique par la non-reconnaissance de certaines minorités. Par exemple, les musulmans laïques sont ignorés, car ils ne correspondent pas au stéréotype musulman véhiculé par les « woke », où les femmes sont toutes voilées et où les hommes présentent aussi une allure stéréotypée, etc. Les ex-musulmans sont encore plus dénigrés.

Que ferait une véritable gauche ?

Une approche véritablement de gauche en matière de religion consisterait à défendre la liberté de conscience, qui comprend à la fois la liberté de religion et la liberté de s’affranchir de la religion, tout en critiquant toute religion, franchement et résolument. Cela signifie, par exemple, que les trois monothéismes abrahamiques — le judaïsme, le christianisme et l’islam, pour les nommer par ordre historique — devraient être régulièrement la cible de critiques de gauche car, pris ensemble, ils représentent le bloc religieux le plus important sur le planète. L’idée même que l’islam devrait jouir d’une sorte d’immunité contre la critique, ou que le christianisme devrait être ciblé beaucoup plus souvent, est totalement incompatible avec la laïcité qui est une valeur fondamentale issue des Lumières. Et pourtant, c’est précisément l’approche « woke » : soustraire l’islam à la critique parce qu’il est considéré comme la religion des opprimés. La diffusion du terme absurde « islamophobie » est une manifestation flagrante des privilèges que les « woke » accordent à l’islam.

Un mariage de déraison

L’histoire d’amour entre les « woke » et l’islam n’est pas la seule illustration de l’abandon de la gauche par les « woke », mais c’est une comédie particulièrement flagrante et éhontée. Les « woke » facilitent et soutiennent l’islam fondamentaliste, une idéologie politico-religieuse d’extrême droite qui se trouve politiquement à la droite du nazisme, et ils le font au moins indirectement et parfois même directement. Un exemple de ceci est l’acceptation de Linda Sarsour en tant que leader de la « gauche » anti-Trump.

L’antilaïcité des « woke » est particulièrement évidente dans leur opposition fanatique à la Loi 21 au Québec, une législation que les « woke » vilipendent sans même essayer d’en comprendre les enjeux pertinents. Les soutiens à la laïcité dans le monde anglophone ont toujours été faibles, mais maintenant, avec l’avènement de la mentalité « woke » qui confond race et religion, la situation est encore pire. Certains antisécularistes vont même jusqu’à accuser la laïcité d’être « raciste ». Au Canada hors Québec, plusieurs organisations prétendument laïques sont victimes de cette arnaque et ont abandonné la laïcité.

Les « woke » font le jeu de la droite politique

La vision du monde manichéenne des « woke », où tout se divise entre le bien et le mal absolus, les conduit à calomnier quiconque serait en désaccord avec eux, les accusant d’être « xénophobes », « racistes » ou « fascistes ». C’est une attitude très infantile. Leurs accusations contre leurs critiques perdent toute crédibilité. Les gens raisonnables qui voient bien ce qui se passe peuvent être intimidés, au point de se taire, mais ils se rendent tout de même compte que beaucoup de ceux qui se disent actuellement de gauche sont destructeurs et insensés. Cela conduit beaucoup qui seraient normalement des sympathisants de gauche à considérer le centre politique ou la droite. C’est l’une des raisons qui expliquent l’élection de Donald Trump en 2016.

La droite politique confond souvent les « woke » et la gauche politique. Il n’y a rien de surprenant en cela, car cette confusion sert leurs intérêts. Étant donné que les « woke », ou du moins les plus pieux des « woke », sont évidemment des fanatiques irrationnels, leur coller une étiquette « gauchiste » discrédite la gauche et fait mieux paraître la droite politique en comparaison.

Je suis convaincu que Martin Luther King Jr. et Karl Marx seraient tous les deux outrés par l’irrationalité de le fanatisme des « woke ».

Les « woke » ont trahi la gauche

La mentalité « woke » est réactionnaire et rétrograde, une dégénérescence de la gauche politique en un culte qui s’apparente parfois davantage à la droite politique, parfois allié à l’extrême droite religieuse, et généralement perdu dans un territoire bizarre et mal cartographié. Les « woke » ont trahi la gauche. Ils ont abandonné l’universalisme, l’objectivité, la laïcité et la liberté d’expression. Tout en prétendant promouvoir la diversité et l’inclusion, en réalité les « woke » sont puritains, dogmatiques, fermés d’esprit et extrêmement intolérants, constamment chasseurs de sorcières. Ils ont en grande partie laissé tomber les questions d’économie et de classe. Ayant remplacé les problèmes économiques par une racialisation obsessionnelle de tout, ils voient du racisme partout, mais seulement les formes de racisme qu’ils reconnaissent dans l’histoire des États-Unis, car ils sont très bornés, voyant tout à travers une lentille américaine. Les « woke » répondent à presque tout désaccord par des accusations ridicules. Ils ne tolèrent aucune dissidence. La diversité intellectuelle leur est étrangère. Leur obsession pour les minorités et leur anti-universalisme conduisent inévitablement à la fragmentation et à la division.

Le « wokisme » est un désastre pour la gauche, conduisant à sa quasi destruction. Nous avons maintenant devant nous la tâche de reconstruire la gauche sur les valeurs universalistes des Lumières.

Wokisme ≈ Post-gauchisme ≈ Post-Marxisme + Postmodernisme

Prochain billet de blogue : À annoncer

The “Woke” are Not the Political Left, Part II

2020-08-16

The “woke”—that is, the regressive pseudo-left—are not part of the political left. They left the left when they abandoned Enlightenment values.

This blog is the second of two parts.

Sommaire en français

La soi-disant « gauche » régressive, connue couramment comme les « woke », ne font pas partie de la gauche politique. Ils ont quitté la gauche au moment où ils ont renoncé aux valeurs des Lumières.

Le présent blogue est la deuxième de deux parties.

…continued from Part I.

The Woke Antiracist Movement is Anti-Universalist and Racist

The woke are obsessed with minorities and with personal identity, to the detriment of our common humanity. Intersectionality combined with multiculturalism and the other ingredients of the woke mentality create a toxic mixture which leads to an overemphasis on minorities and contempt for majorities and the universal. Some minorities are favoured obsessively, granting them near impunity, while the corresponding majorities are denigrated. Thus, the current antiracist movement has itself become racist. Furthermore, in true parareligious fashion, the most extreme so-called antiracists make the non-falsifiable claim that racism is literally ubiquitous. Instead of asking if racism is present in a given situation, they ask “Where is the racism here?” and assume that it is never absent. The result is a politics of guilt and paranoia. This approach is nonsensical, for if racism is always present, then the word loses all objective meaning.

A half-century or more ago, during the civil rights movement which was so important in the fight against anti-black racism in the U.S.A., especially in the southern states, right-wing opponents would sometimes accuse civil rights activists of “reverse racism” against non-blacks. Similarly, in the heyday of second-wave feminism, those who opposed sexual equality would sometimes accuse feminists of hating men. These were both obvious attempts to denigrate the civil rights and feminist movements. No one was fooled by such self-evident deception. Both movements were universalist, promoting equal rights for blacks and women without attacking non-blacks and men in general. However, the situation today is much different. Given the obsession with identity, especially minority identity, which is a hallmark of the woke mentality, denigration of whites, men and other non-minority groups has become the norm.

The Woke Oppose Privilege Rather Than Fight Discrimination

One of the maxims of the woke mentality is the concept of “white privilege” which is a backwards approach to antiracism. If so-called white people have the advantage of not being discriminated against, that is not a privilege; rather it is a right, a basic human right. If blacks are discriminated against, that is not a lack of privilege, rather it is a denial of rights. The proper approach to antiracism is to promote equal rights for all, universally, regardless of racial group, and to oppose discrimination against any group. To emphasize white privilege leads to a politics of guilt and resentment, indirectly strengthening the political right.

Instead of equality, i.e. equality of opportunity, the woke promote equity which implies equality of outcomes. Furthermore, if equality of outcomes is not achieved, and it practically never is, then the woke generally assume that the situation is caused by some kind of prejudice such as racism or sexism. Thus, if a profession does not display the same demographic diversity as the general population, then prejudice is assumed to be the cause. This is irrational because, as James Lindsay observes:

this is literally impossible without large-scale social engineering including forced quotas. (Random stochasticity, that is, noise in the system, should make perfect alignment with prevailing demographic percentages extremely improbable, after all, even if the system were perfectly free of difference and discrimination of every sort.) That means that “Equity” implies using identity-based quotas and vigorous social engineering to achieve them.

The Diversity Delusion

This is what got James Damore fired by Google, because he wrote a rather innocuous document in which he suggested that maybe part of the explanation for lower numbers of women in software jobs could be the preferences of women. In other words, sexism may not be the only reason. But such ideas are blasphemy for the woke, so he was fired.

The Woke Oppose Secularism

The woke abandonment of Enlightenment values and its rejection of left-wing values are most blatant in woke opposition to secularism. Their obsession with minorities extends to even religious minorities. The woke tend to conflate race and religion, which amounts to jettisoning freedom of conscience and condemning individuals to the religion into which they had the bad luck to be born. This racialisation of religious affiliation plays right into the hands of fundamentalists, especially Islamists.

With Islamoleftism added into the wokeness mixture, Muslims are given special priority and impunity, especially the most pious and even fundamentalist. This leads to extreme complacency with respect to Islam and Islamism. So-called “Islamophobia” is condemned. The whole process is rendered even more toxic by the non-recognition of some minorities. For example, secular Muslims are ignored, as they do not fit the Muslim stereotype which the woke insist upon, where women are veiled and men are groomed stereotypically, etc. Ex-Muslims are denigrated even further.

WWLD: What Would the Left Do?

A truly left-wing approach to religion would be to defend freedom of conscience, which includes both freedom of and freedom from religion, while criticizing religion, all religion, frankly and unabashedly. This means, for example, that the three Abrahamic monotheisms—Judaism, Christianity and Islam, to name them in historical order—should be regular targets of left-wing criticism because, taken together, they represent the most important religious block on the planet. The very idea that Islam should enjoy some sort of immunity from criticism, or that Christianity should be targeted far more often, are utterly incompatible with secularism which is a core value of the Enlightenment. And yet, that is precisely the woke approach: give Islam a free ride because it is considered to be the religion of the oppressed. The spread of the nonsense term “Islamophobia” is a prime manifestation of the privileges which the woke grant to Islam.

A Marriage Made in Hell

The woke love affair with Islam is not the only illustration of how the woke are not leftists, but it is a particularly glaring and shameless one. The woke facilitate and support fundamentalist Islam, an extreme right-wing politico-religious ideology which is to the right of Naziism, and they so do at least indirectly and sometimes even directly. One example of this is the acceptance of Linda Sarsour as a leader of the “left.”

The antisecularism of the woke is particularly evident in the fanatical opposition to Quebec Bill 21 which the woke vilify without even attempting to understand the relevant issue. Support for secularism in the English-speaking world has always been weak, but now, with the advent of the woke mentality which conflates race and religion, the situation is even worse. Some antisecularists even go so far as to denounce secularism as “racist.” In Canada outside Quebec, several ostensibly secular organizations have fallen victim to this scam and have abandoned secularism.

The Woke Strengthen the Political Right

The Manichean worldview of the woke, seeing everything as either good or evil, lead them to slander anyone who disagrees with them as “xenophobic” or “racist” or “fascist.” This is a very infantile attitude. Accusations of being far-right have begun to lose all credibility. Reasonable people who see what is happening may be cowed into silence, but they recognize that many of those who currently call themselves leftist are destructive and foolish. This leads many with normally leftist sympathies to consider the political centre or right. This is one of the reasons Donald Trump was elected in 2016.

The political right will often conflate the woke with the political left. This is not surprising, as it is in their interest to do so. As the woke, or at least those who are the most woke, are clearly irrational fanatics, labelling them as leftists discredits the left and makes the political right look better in comparison.

Both Martin Luther King Jr. and Karl Marx would undoubtedly be outraged by the irrationality and fanaticism of the woke.

The Woke Have Betrayed the Left

The woke mentality is reactionary and retrograde, a degeneration of left-wing politics into a cult which is sometimes more akin to the political right, sometimes allied with the religious far-right, and generally just lost in some ill-defined neverneverland. The woke have betrayed the left. They have abandoned universalism, objectivity, secularism and free speech. While claiming to promote diversity and inclusion, in reality the woke are puritanical, dogmatic, closed-minded and extremely intolerant, constantly witch-hunting. They have largely abandoned economic and class issues. Having replaced economic issues with an obsessive racialization of everything, they see racism everywhere, but only those forms of racism which they recognize from the USA, because they are very parochial, seeing everything through an American lens. The woke respond to almost any disagreement with ridiculous accusations. They tolerate no dissent. Intellectual diversity is foreign to them. Their obsession with minorities and their anti-universalism lead to inevitable fragmentation and division.

Wokism is a disaster for the left, leading to its near destruction. The task now is to rebuild the left on universalist, Enlightenment values.

Wokism ≈ Post-leftism ≈ Post-Marxism + Postmodernism

Next blog: Les « Woke » ne sont pas de gauche

The “Woke” are Not the Political Left, Part I

2020-08-14

The “woke”—that is, the regressive pseudo-left—are not part of the political left. They left the left when they abandoned Enlightenment values.

This blog is the first of two parts.

Sommaire en français

La soi-disant « gauche » régressive, connue couramment comme les « woke », ne font pas partie de la gauche politique. Ils ont quitté la gauche au moment où ils ont renoncé aux valeurs des Lumières.

Le présent blogue est la première de deux parties.

The term “woke” is an Afro-American slang expression meaning politically awake, politically aware, especially about social justice issues. However, the word has come to acquire a much wider meaning and now refers to the dominant current of thought in ostensibly left-wing politics in the USA, Canada and several other countries. And yet, this school of thought is in reality not on the political left because it has abandoned Enlightenment values.

Those Enlightenment ideals include reason, tolerance, freedom, progress, universalism, human rights and secularism. Taken collectively, they are often referred to as modernism. The Enlightenment has given us much of what we take for granted today. Its products are many and include: the concept of human rights, the abolition of slavery, liberalism, Marxism, modern science and technology, the U.S. Constitution, the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen (1789) and secularism law (1905), the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and much more.

The Origin of the Political Left and Right

As many readers will recall, the terms “left” and “right” when used in the political sense originated from the seating arrangements in the National Constituent Assembly (Assemblée nationale constituante) during the French Revolution starting in 1789. Those seated on the left side of the chamber were generally supportive of the revolution, republicanism and secularism whereas those seated on the right remained loyal to the monarchy, the clergy and traditional institutions of the Ancien régime. These two poles corresponded roughly to support for or opposition to the values of the Enlightenment, an intellectual and philosophical movement which had been spreading throughout Europe for about a century. Indeed, the French Revolution was itself a product of the Enlightenment, as were the American, Haitian and Russian Revolutions.

Thus, the political left referred to those who supported such Enlightenment values whereas the political right encompassed those who opposed them. The same general pattern applies today. The political left and right are defined by support for and opposition to Enlightenment ideals. If a left-wing current abandons them, then it is no longer on the political left. This is the situation with “wokism,” if I may call it that, which is also known by several other monikers such as the “regressive (pseudo)left” and, my preferred term, the “anti-Enlightenment pseudoleft.” The woke are left mostly in name only. Their mentality has become dominant among those who claim to be leftists and even centrists. There is (almost) no (real) left left.

Political & Philosophical Roots of the Woke

The woke mentality is based on a number of political and philosophical sources:

  • Intersectionality, an obsession with personal identities, especially minority identities, which amounts to a simplistic point-system for determining who is lucky enough to have the most oppression points.
  • Multiculturalism, or cultural relativism, an anti-universalist political ideology which attaches greater importance to ethnic or religious affiliation than it does to either universal rights or to citizenship.
  • Postmodernism, a philosophy associated with cultural relativism and inspired by a scepticism about modernist ideas of objectivity, rationalism and knowledge.
  • Post-Marxist defeatism, a degeneration of Marxism, resulting from Marxism’s failure to deliver on its promise of a brighter future based on Enlightenment ideals. This has led to blaming the Enlightenment itself. Also known as neo-Marxism, or cultural Marxism, or cultural post-Marxism
  • Islamoleftism, an extension of the previous point, a further degeneration of post-Marxism, in which the priority traditionally accorded to class and economics is now replaced by the defence of minorities, especially Muslims.

Thus the woke mentality is derived, partially at least, from left-wing thought, but it is a perversion and degeneration of it. In particular, Wokism is not Marxist. Marxism has a lot of negative and dubious things to answer for, but you cannot blame Marxism for woke insanity. To put it succinctly, the woke mentality is a form of “post-leftism” which is approximately a combination of post-Marxism and postmodernism.

James Lindsay, who has studied these issues extensively, sums up the situation thus:

Marxism is an economics-based social theory, and Critical Social Justice actually usurps economic analysis and obscures it to use it as a proxy for its peculiar approach to identity politics. To be more specific on that, for example, it’s overwhelmingly obvious that economic causes are the sources of many of the phenomena Critical Race Theorists name as “systemic racism,” but they use the fact that there are statistical economic differences by race to claim that racism (not capitalistic exploitation) are the ultimate causes of those differences. Thus, they make class a proxy for the site of oppression that they’re actually obsessively focused upon, race, and thereby obliterate any possibility for liberal, rational, or even materialist or Marxist analysis of the underlying issues.

The Complex Relationship Between Marxism and Wokeness

Parareligion

Wokism at its worst is a modern parareligion. I define a parareligion as an ideology which is not a religion in the strict sense of the word because there is no obvious supernatural element, but which nevertheless behaves somewhat like one because it displays some of the following characteristics which are typical of religion:

  • Dogmatism, a rejection of reason.
  • A penchant for non-falsifiable assertions, i.e. hypotheses which can never be disproven and are thus meaningless. Example: “God” is responsible for everything: if good things happen, then praise “God” — however if bad things happen, “God” works in mysterious ways.
  • Manichaeism, a worldview divided into absolute good and evil, denying moral nuances and ambiguities.
  • Moralism, an obsession with personal morality, again neglecting moral complexities.
  • Privileges for the faithful, thus opposing universalism.
  • Cult of personality, i.e. worship of gods or goddesses, or deification of human leaders.
  • Etc.…

One example of a parareligion is authoritarian communism of the Stalinist, Maoist or North Korean variety, where dogmatism and the cult of personality are particularly obvious. Various pseudosciences (homeopathy, astrology, etc.) and some conspiracy theories can also be viewed as parareligions.

The Woke Parareligion

The woke parareligion displays most of the above characteristics (although not the cult of personality). It is extremely dogmatic, Manichaean and moralistic, and while it pretends to value “diversity” it is zealously opposed to intellectual debate and diversity. This is manifested by so-called cancel culture, basically social censorship of anyone who disagrees with the woke mentality or who is judged (summarily, without due process) to be morally dubious. The woke are obsessively hostile to those whom they consider to be privileged (whites, men, etc.) and the woke program is to privilege the other pole. Thus, racial and other minorities, even religious ones such as Muslims, are given special consideration, just as Judaism considered the Hebrews to be the chosen people. This implies the abandonment of universalism which values equality for all, regardless of race, sex, etc.

To be continued in Part II.


Next blog: The “Woke” are Not the Political Left, Part II

The Quebec Election, Oct. 1st 2018

Some Good News & Some Bad

2018-10-04, 2018-10-11, update to table of election results

My assessment of the good and bad results of the recent Quebec election, on October 1st.

Sommaire en français Mon appréciation des bons et mauvais résultats des élections au Québec du 1er octobre.

In the October 1st 2018 elections in the Canadian province of Quebec, a major upset occurred. The Quebec Liberal Party (QLP), which has held power for most of last 15 years, was swept from power and a new party, the Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ), won a solid majority in the legislature. Its leader François Legault thus becomes premier of Quebec. In addition, the Parti Québécois (PQ) lost many seats and was reduced to a shadow of its former importance, while the ostensibly far-left but communitarian Quebec Solidaire (QS) went from marginal status to being about equal to the PQ. There are 125 seats in the Quebec National Assembly. Thus, 63 are required to form a majority government. The following table sums up the situation before and after the election.

Political Party Seats before election Seats after election Seats after recounts
2018-10-11
Quebec Liberal Party 66 32 31
Parti Québécois 28 9 10
Coalition avenir Québec 21 74 74
Quebec Solidaire 3 10 10
Independents 6 0 0

First, the bad news:

Ève Torres
Click to enlarge
Ève Torres, a QS candidate.
Fortunately she did not win.
Unfortunately she came second.

  • The very weak vote for the centre-left PQ, the only social-democratic party of the four major ones, and the party which in 2013-2014 proposed a very good Charter of Secularism. Unfortunately the PQ’s position on secularism has been erratic since then.
  • The election of the centre-right CAQ as the new government. However, the CAQ is probably no further to the right than the former PLQ government which imposed a lot of economic austerity. Also, the CAQ is nowhere nearly as far right as Doug Ford in Ontario or Donald Trump in the USA. For example, all four parties including the CAQ recognize that global warming is a major problem to be faced. As this is the first time the CAQ has held power, we will have to see just how they position themselves in practice.
  • The new premier François Legault plans to keep the crucifix in the legislative chamber (salon bleu) of the National Assembly. This old symbol of Catholicism must be removed, perhaps installed in a museum in the National Assembly, but Legault will evidently not do that. Its continued presence in the legislature is an unacceptable violation of secularism.
  • The worst news of all: the gains made by Quebec Solidaire, a group of sectarian regressive leftist anti-secularists, objective allies of political Islam, whose politics are seriously corrupted by identity politics, the conflation of race with religion and related errors. The gains by QS are a major cause of the losses by the PQ.

Now, the good news:

  • Legault plans to ban face-coverings in the public service, thus replacing the PLQ’s bill 62 whose article 10 (which banned face-coverings) was suspended by two court decisions.
  • Legault plans to ban religious symbols worn by public servants in positions of authority, i.e. police, judges, prison guards and teachers.
  • Legault has indicated that he is prepared to use the so-called “Notwithstanding” clause if necessary (for example, if the courts attempt to suspend a ban on face-coverings or religious symbols). This pro-secular decisiveness is admirable, especially considering the waffling and hostility of most other politicians when dealing with secular issues. Also, this is very different from the situation in Ontario where premier Doug Ford’s use of that clause was for rather frivolous reasons based at least partly on a personal settling of accounts with Toronto City Council.
  • The best news of all: the decisive defeat of the Quebec Liberal Party, a party which is anything but “liberal” despite its name, a corrupt gang of anti-secular multiculturalists who regularly denigrated the Quebec population which they were supposed to represent. Good riddance. Note that the QLP remained in power largely thanks to overwhelming, unwavering and obsessive support from Quebec’s anglophone regions (which, by all appearances, would continue to support the QLP even if that party chose a stone statue of Queen Victoria as its leader). Despite continued support from them in the recent election, the QLP lost much support outside anglophone regions. Thus Quebec’s francophone majority, which is very pro-secular, has finally regained some control of its government. The tail no longer wags the dog.

A final reminder:

As the anti-secular forces have no rational arguments to justify granting privileges to religion, they will do what they regularly do: resort to slander and defamation.

We can expect the fanatical multiculturalists who currently control most political parties, especially the federal ones, to go ballistic in reaction to Legault’s secular initiatives. As the anti-secular forces have no rational arguments to justify granting privileges to religion, they will do what they regularly do: resort to slander and defamation. They will accuse Legault and his supporters of “racism” or any number of similar sins. In fact, they have already begun. Their slander must be resisted resolutely. Remember, anyone who conflates race and religion is incompetent to deal with either. Such accusations simply underline the intellectual sloth and vacuity of those who oppose secularism.


Some Relevant Links:


Next blog: The Moral and Intellectual Bankruptcy of Antisecularists

Ensaf Haidar Challenges Canadian Orthodoxy

Raif Badawi’s wife refuses to kowtow to the “diversity” ideologues

2018-09-22

I congratulate Ensaf Haidar for her call to ban face-coverings in public services and for her support for Maxime Bernier’s criticism of Trudeau-ite multiculturalism.

Sommaire en français Je félicite Ensaf Haidar pour son appel à interdire les couvre-visage dans les services publics et pour son appui à Maxime Bernier qui critique le multiculturalisme à la Trudeau.

As most people are already aware, Ensaf Haidar is the wife of Raif Badawi, a Saudi writer, dissident and activist who has been imprisoned since 2012 in Saudi Arabia. His only “crime” was to call for a liberalisation of the Saudi regime.

Ensaf Haidar now lives with her children in Quebec and all received Canadian citizenship on July 1st 2018. Haidar has worked tirelessly for her husband’s release and for human rights in general, and has received several awards for her efforts. Two recent examples are the 2017 Goldene Victoria, awarded by the Verband Deutscher Zeitschriftenverleger (Association of German Magazine Publishers), and the 2018 Henry Zumach Freedom From Fundamentalist Religion Award from the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF).

2018 Henry Zumach Freedom From Fundamentalist Religion Award
Ensaf Haidar: 2018 Recipient Henry Zumach Freedom From Fundamentalist Religion Award

Just as her husband defied Saudi orthodoxy by calling for freedom of expression, Ensaf Haidar challenges Canadian orthodoxy […]

Just as her husband defied Saudi orthodoxy by calling for freedom of expression, Ensaf Haidar challenges Canadian orthodoxy by exercising her freedom of expression in defiance of the conventional ideology monolithically imposed by most Canadian mainstream media and politicians, especially the federal government of Justin Trudeau. On her Twitter account @miss9afi, she has repeatedly urged the new Premier of Ontario to follow Quebec’s lead and ban the niqab in Ontario schools, public transportation and government services.

2018-09-16, Tweet, Ensaf Haidar
“I urge Ontario PM to follow Quebec’s and outlaw the Niqab
from schools, public transportation & all govt services”

Unfortunately the comparison with Quebec no longer applies, because article 10 of Quebec’s Bill 62, which banned face-coverings in public services, has been suspended by the courts and the Quebec government has failed to make any effort to fight back against the suspension.

Furthermore, Ensaf Haidar has expressed her support for Maxime Bernier’s criticism of Trudeau’s dubious cult of “diversity,” despite the fact that Bernier has been the target of an enormous degree of contempt and demonisation from the media for a position which is, in reality, eminently reasonable. Tarek Fatah writes about this in his article of September 18th, Why Raif Badawi’s wife supports Maxime Bernier in the Toronto Sun. Haidar expressed her shock at the negative reaction to Bernier and his new political party (People’s Party of Canada or PPC) in a tweet on September 18th.

2018-09-20, Tweet, Ensaf Haidar
“I am shocked at the reaction to my support of the #PPC and @MaximeBernier,
I will listen to myself and look for the new change”

Trudeau’s “diversity” is simply […] a buzzword which he uses to set the stage for spurious accusations of racism or xenophobia against anyone who criticizes his pandering to religious minorities.

I do not support Bernier’s new party—its economic policies are those of the libertarian right—but I agree with his and Haidar’s criticism of Trudeau’s obsession with what Bernier calls “extreme multiculturalism.” Indeed, Trudeau’s multiculturalism is cultural relativism, leading to complacency and inaction in the face of religious fanaticism. Trudeau’s “diversity” is simply code expressing his extreme intolerance of any disagreement with his ideology, a buzzword which he uses to set the stage for spurious accusations of racism or xenophobia against anyone who criticizes his pandering to religious minorities.

I congratulate Ensaf Haidar for her principled support for Bernier’s criticisms and for her opposition to the Trudeau-ite obsession of allowing religious face-coverings anywhere and everywhere.


More Relevant Links


Next blog: The Quebec Election of October 1st 2018

The Greatest of All Vices

2018-09-03 2018-09-04: name correction

I discuss several examples of blind and unhealthy conformism, i.e. conforming with the current “diversity” mania.

Sommaire en français Je présente plusieurs examples d’un conformisme aveugle et malsain, c’est-à-dire, se conformer à la mode actuelle de la « diversité ».

I once remarked in a previous blog that a favourite aphorism of mine is “the only vice is conformism” but that I was unable to locate the source. Since then I have determined that I had it exactly backwards. In fact, the correct quotation is “Non-conformism is the major, perhaps the only, sin of our time.” It is attributed to early-twentieth-century American author and psychologist Robert M. Lindner. Apparently Lindner encouraged raising children so that they would grow up to be independently minded. A noble goal, so I think that he would probably approve of my version, despite my error, because its intent is very much in line with his.

So I will stick with my version, albeit with one small improvement, changing “only” to “greatest” thus yielding:

The greatest vice is conformism.

and by that I mean that, when the vast majority–or at least the most vocal–are heading in one direction, it is a serious failure to follow them without first considering the merits and demerits of their choice. Blind, unthinking conformism is perhaps the worst of all vices.

I am a big fan of CBC Radio. I often listen to the programme “Because News,” a comedic quiz show based on current events, which normally does not take itself too seriously, except when certain specific subjects happen to be raised. For example, whenever the topic of conversation turns to Quebec and/or religious symbols, someone usually makes an obnoxious remark denigrating the Québécois for their alleged “intolerance” (or some synonym thereof). Recently, the tweets of Maxime Bernier criticizing Trudeau’s obsession with “diversity” have been in the news, and this issue turned up in the episode of Saturday Sept. 1st. Several of the show’s panelists therefore fell immediately into line with the dominant discourse of the day (which here in Quebec would be called « la pensée unique ») and made the requisite remarks denigrating Bernier for his alleged bigotry, while genuflecting in the direction of Trudeau-ite ideology. No-one dared offer a dissenting opinion. There was no hint whatsoever that maybe Bernier was not completely wrong. Their behaviour was an example of a blind and dangerous conformity.

Maxime Bernier is the sort of politician for whom I would never vote, because he is a right-wing libertarian, the sort who could be expected to allow the worst excesses of free-market capitalism, while at the same time weakening or cutting social programmes which help protect against those excesses. However, his criticism of Trudeau’s diversity schtick was totally valid and indeed necessary in order to resist the steamroller of that dominant ideology. Bernier also a displayed considerable courage in doing so—although, in his case, probably mixed with a good dose of ego.

Just how entrenched this ideology is can be measured by the fact that even the Conservative Party deemed it necessary to condemn Bernier’s remarks. So that party, in addition to being a hotbead of right-wing pro-Christian bigotry, is now also infected by the malady of communitarianism and clientelism, just like the Liberals and the NDP. Even the Conservative Party climbs on the bandwagon of diversity and identity politics, trolling for votes in certain ethno-religious communities.

The bottom line is this: The obsession with “diversity” has nothing to do with combating racism or xenophobia or anything of that nature. Rather, it is at best fashionable nonsense and, at worst, it is a form of soft (and sometimes not so soft) censorship whose purpose is to silence any dissent against the prevailing neoliberal agenda of weakening borders, compromising national sovereignty and muzzling criticism of religion, in particular criticism of Islam. This was clear when Trudeau recently vituperated against a Québécoise woman, accusing her of racism, when all she had done was ask a question about who would pay the considerable cost of a recent wave of irregular immigrants who crossed into Quebec from the US. Those who defend Trudeau’s indefensible behaviour say that the woman in question is a member of a “far-right” organization. Even if that were true, it is irrelevant, because her question was eminently legitimate.

Recently, the columnist Sophie Durocher gave another example of how “diversity” is simply code for censorship, this time from Quebec’s notoriously bad Ethics and Religious Culture (ERC) programme. ERC, which is compulsory at all levels of primary and secondary schools, indoctrinates children into a complacent and totally non-critical attitude towards religions. Durocher cites an example from an ERC textbook involving a girl Laurence who questions a classmate’s compliance with Ramadan, shocked that she would deny herself food and water during the day for an entire month. But the classmate responds that she is happy to conform to her “faith.” One of the questions following this story asks, “Was Laurence’s question with respect to diversity appropriate?” In other words, the ERC course teaches children that it is inappropriate to question a religious practice, even if that practice may have serious negative effects on a child’s health and development. Just shut up or we will call you a racist or worse.

If the Ethics and Religious Culture course were in fact ethical, it would instead encourage children to challenge religious tenets. Furthermore, it would question the wisdom of parents who would impose a radical and unhealthy practice such as Ramadan on growing children.

Under such circumstances, non-conformity with this communitarian ideology is everyone’s duty.


Next blog: Quebec-Bashing: Three Recent Examples

More Dubious Words

2017-01-16

In a previous blog Dubious Words I presented several words and expressions which should be used with caution, or never used at all, and which should be met with suspicion when used by others, the worst being “Islamophobia.” In this blog I present several more expressions whose meaning has been corrupted by bad usage, usually by what has become known as the “regressive left.”

Sommaire en français Dans un blogue précédent Dubious Words j’ai présenté plusieurs expressions douteuses, qu’il faudrait éviter ou utiliser avec précaution, et qui devraient inspirer de la méfiance si utilisées par les autres, la pire étant la soi-disant « islamophobie ». Dans le présent blogue je présente encore plusieurs termes dont le sens a été corrompu par une surutilisation et par le galvaudage, surtout par ce que l’on appelle courramment la « gauche régressive ».

Clash of Civilizations

The origin of this expression is the title of a 1993 article in the magazine Foreign Affairs and a subsequent book, both by political scientist Samuel P. Huntington who hypothesized that “people’s cultural and religious identities will be the primary source of conflict in the post-Cold War world.” (See the Wikipedia article Clash of Civilizations or in French Le Choc des civilisations.)

This expression has come to be used—typically by regressive leftists and Islamophiliacs—to denigrate anyone who sees Islam or Islamism (a subset of Islam) as threats. In other words, it is used by those who, through intellectual sloth or political cowardice or whatever reason, refuse to criticize political Islam, in order to bully and dismiss those who do dare to criticize it. It has become another weapon in the arsenal of the regressive left, along with “Islamophobia,” “xenophobia,” “racism” and similar terms. To say that someone is a proponent of the clash of civilizations is basically a euphemism for calling them a racist or a xenophobe.

It is interesting to note the role which essentialism plays here. To say that someone has a “clash of civilizations” mentality is akin to accusing them of seeing Muslims as essentially dangerous and backward, unable to adapt to modernity. And yet regressive leftists themselves display a similar essentialist attitude, but they draw the opposite conclusion: Muslims (which they conflate with Islamists) cannot adapt; therefore we must accommodate them (for example by allowing the veil everywhere).

Populism

In recent years, this term has been used in an increasingly pejorative sense, identifying it with right-wing or extreme right-wing movements, likes hordes of angry degenerates enthralled by dangerous and manipulative demagogues. This demonizes people in general. Demonization is rarely if ever appropriate because it stifles reflexion and debate about the causes of the behaviour being demonized.

In and of itself, populism is neither good nor bad, neither left nor right politically. It simply means appealing to the interests or perceived interests of the common people. That appeal may be either left-wing or right-wing or neither. Populism may appeal to the best in people—a desire for justice and equality, for example—or it may exploit baser instincts, or it may be somewhere between these two poles.

Populism, like diversity, like tolerance, is neither virtue nor vice. It can only be judged in context.

Fascism

This word is vastly overused. Accusing one’s political adversaries of being fascists or, worse, nazis (i.e. extreme fascists) is an all-too-frequent form of abuse. Regressive leftists exploit this term in order to target anyone who does not share their uncritical attitude towards Islamism and Islam. According to historian Roger Griffin who has specialized in this area, fascism is a modern political ideology which favours an ultranationalist revolution in order to restore the nation to some (probably imaginary) glorious past. Although Donald Trump’s program meets these criteria partially, he is nevertheless NOT a fascist because the revolutionary aspect is missing.

This raises the question of radical, political Islam. Is the term “Islamofascism” reasonable? The late Christopher Hitchens certainly thought so in his 2007 article Defending Islamofascism. It’s a valid term. Here’s why. So does Hamed Abdel-samad, author of the book Islamic Fascism. However Griffin prefers a stricter definition: in his opinion, the term “Islamofascism” is inaccurate for two reasons: (1) it refers to Islam while it should refer to Islamism; and (2) fascism refers to a modern movement based on nationalism more than religion whereas Islamism is an early medieval religious ideology unrelated to nationalism. The first point is indisputable, whereas the second leaves room for debate.

Despite its shortcomings, the use of “Islamofascism” has at least one major advantage: it defies the regressive left’s attempts to monopolize the term “fascism” for its own tendentious purposes!

Values (or lack thereof)

The question of values was raised during the 2013-2014 debate over the Charter of Secularism proposed by the previous Quebec government. The preliminary name of that legislation, before the final text was released, was the Charter of Quebec Values and the use of the word “values” was denounced by critics of the Charter, as if there could be something wrong with having societal values. Indeed, some opponents of the Charter continue to refer to it by its preliminary name, rather than its official name “Charter affirming the values of secularism and religious neutrality of the state and equality between women and men and governing accommodation requests” for the obvious reason that they want to continue to bash the concept of Quebec values.

More recently, Conservative Party leadership candidate Kellie Leitch has attracted a lot of flack for her proposal to screen would-be immigrants and refugees for “anti-Canadian values.” Leitch was soundly criticized for what many saw as a repeat of her promotion, during the 2015 election campaign, of a Conservative proposal to establish a tip line for so-called “barbaric cultural practices.” Both Leitch’s Canadian values and the Quebec values of the Charter of Secularism were criticized as right-wing measures, whereas in reality the Quebec Charter was motivated by Enlightenment values traditionally defended by the left (but currently abandoned by parts of the left). In both cases, criticism came mainly from Islamophiliacs, i.e. those who impose a taboo on criticism of Islam or Islamism.

Finally, Justin Trudeau, Canada’s most famous bimbo and, coincidentally, its Prime Minister, added his own particularly vapid point of view to this debate when, in a December 2015 New York Times article Trudeau’s Canada, Again he opined that “There is no core identity, no mainstream in Canada” and that Canada is “the first postnational state.” Canada, the uncountry.

Cutting through the bullshit, we need to get real. There is nothing wrong with having societal values. There is nothing wrong with having a core identity. The question is: What values? What identity? Where do those values come from and how are they manifested? When the mere mention of the question of values leads to passionate opposition and knee-jerk vilification, then reasoned debate becomes impossible. In my opinion, a lack of values or a lack of core identity is no vision for a country.


Next blog: Fools Against “Islamophobia”

Multiculturalism, Orientalism and Exoticism

2016-11-06

An observation about multiculturalism by Mehdi Nabti, a musician living in Québec, born in France, of Kabyle (Algeria) ancestry.

Sommaire en français Une réflexion au sujet du multiculturalisme, de Mehdi Nabti, musicien vivant au Québec, né en France, d’ascendance kabyle (Algérie). Voir la citation ci-dessous qui débute par « Le multiculturalisme est selon moi une dérive de l’orientalisme et de l’exotisme […] »

Recently (2016-11-02) I attended the press conference of the Rassemblement pour la laïcité (RPL, Alliance for Secularism) at which the RPL launched its newly updated (2016) declaration entitled “La laïcité, la seule issue possible” (“Secularism, the only possible solution”)

There were several speakers, each of whom took the prodium briefly at the press conference:

  • Djemila Benhabib, prize-winning author and secular activist
  • Karim Akouche, author
  • Simon Pierre-Savard-Tremblay, author and sociologist
  • Mehdi Nabti, author, composer, musician
  • Marc Laviolette, former president of the CSN trade union federation
  • André Lamoureux, political scientist and spokesperson for the RPL

Despite the short time available, each of the speakers made cogent and compelling remarks. I was particularly intrigued, however, by the thoughts of Mehdi Nabti. He explained that a few years ago he had been invited by Ubumag, a webzine based in Algiers, to write about his experience as an artist and recent immigrant to Quebec. Here is part of what he wrote:

Le multiculturalisme est selon moi une dérive de l’orientalisme et de l’exotisme : au mieux chacun se présente à l’autre dans sa posture la plus édulcorée, la plus folklorique. Au pire on s’observe mais on ne collabore pas, chacun restant sur ses positions, dans ses traditions. Les artistes eux-mêmes peuvent parfois renforcer et diffuser des stéréotypes négatifs sous couvert de multiculturalisme. Folklorisation à outrance, déguisements, posture et discours passéistes. Le multiculturalisme c’est « rester dans votre communauté. Vous ne valez pas mieux. » Ce goût immodéré pour le folklore immigrant qu’on observe ici au Québec va de pair avec le repli religieux. Ce phénomène ne doit pas être sous-estimé et doit être contrebalancé avec la valorisation des artistes progressistes, intellectuels, tournés vers demain et enracinés dans notre temps. Sans ce type de modèle positif, la jeunessse se tournera, comme en France, vers les rétrogrades, car ce sont eux qui monopolisent les médias et le discours publics.

Here is my English translation of the above:

Multiculturalism is, in my opinion, a derivative of orientalism and exoticism. At best, each individual approaches the other by presenting a sanitized and folkloric image of oneself. At worst, individuals observe each other but do not collaborate, each remaining rooted in one’s own situation, one’s own traditions. Artists themselves sometimes reinforce and promote negative stereotypes under the guise of multiculturalism, with exaggerated emphasis on folklore, costumes, outmoded attitudes and forms of expression. Multiculturalism means “Keep to your own community. That is all you are worth.” This overrated taste for immigrant folklore, which we see here in Quebec, goes hand in hand with the withdrawal into religious identity. This phenomenon cannot be underestimated and must be counterbalanced by recognition of the value of progressive and intellectual artists, whose expression looks to the future while being firmly rooted in the present. Without this kind of positive role model, young people will inevitably turn—as they have in France—towards reactionaries who look backwards, as it is they who monopolise the media and public discourse.


Next blog: Anti-Muslim Incidents in the USA

Challenges for Canadian Secularists

2016-09-20, updated 2016-09-21

A (non-exhaustive) list of seven challenges which Canadian secularists must meet in order to promote a state which is truly independent of religious interference.

Sommaire en français

Une liste (non exhaustive) de sept défis que les partisans de la laïcité doivent relever afin de prôner un État véritablement indépendant et libre d’ingérence religieuse. Ces défis sont :

  • Prôner l’abolition de la monarchie
  • Abandonner le multiculturalisme (communautarisme)
  • S’opposer à tous les intégrismes, y compris l’islamique, et pas seulement le chrétien
  • Reconnaître que certains codes vestimentaires sont nécessaires pour la laïcité
  • Respecter le choix du Québec en matière de laïcité
  • Laisser tomber votre puéril engouement pour Saint Justin Trudeau
  • Rejeter l’influence de la gauche régressive

CANADIAN SECULARISTS MUST:

PROMOTE ABOLITION OF THE MONARCHY.

The monarchy is a religious institution, incompatible with fundamental human rights.

The fact that Canada’s head of state must be of a particular religion is bad enough, but it is only a symptom of the underlying problem: the monarchy is essentially a religious institution, in which the king or queen rules by “divine right,” i.e. a mandate from an imaginary divinity. The fact that Canada’s monarchy is constitutional does not change that situation; it simply makes the monarchy non-absolute. Similarly, so-called “moderate” Christian churches avoid some of the worst excesses of fundamentalist churches, but they are still Christian.

Furthermore, hereditary transmission of the title of head of state violates the principle of equality which is fundamental to human rights and secularism. Finally, the bizarre circumstance that Canada’s monarch is a foreigner—and the head of state of a foreign country—tends to favour those whose ethnic background is from that country and to undervalue all others.

ABANDON MULTICULTURALISM.

Multiculturalism = communitarianism = cultural relativism = ethno-religious determinism = religious essentialism = soft racism = an electoral strategy of unscrupulous politicians

I have criticized multiculturalism in previous blogs and articles and many other writers have pointed out the flaws in this nice-sounding but retrograde concept. In particular the Canadian Multiculturalism Act must be repealed or at least modified substantively so that it can no longer be used to favour the more religious (including fundamentalists and worse) over the less religious and the non-religious.

OPPOSE ALL RELIGIOUS FUNDAMENTALISMS, INCLUDING ISLAMIC.

Christianity is not the only crappy religion. Islam is just as dangerous—and currently it is arguably even worse (which does not imply that we can stop criticizing Christianity for now). Sikh, Hindu, Judaic and other fundamentalisms are also dangerous.

In particular, we must resist the Islamist ploy, so commonly used to manipulate well-meaning fools, of playing the victim, of exaggerating the seriousness of anti-Muslim acts. In Canada, hate crime statistics indicate that the most frequent targets of such acts continue to be blacks and Jews.

Although is it obviously unfair to blame all Muslims for the actions of Islamist terrorism, all Muslims, including so-called moderates, nevertheless have a responsibility to confront the reality of that terrorism—i.e. the fact that the coran and other core documents of Muslim tradition contain much hate propaganda and many calls for deadly violence—and to distance themselves definitively from it. The fact that the torah and the bible also contain similar content does not mitigate Muslims’ responsibility; it simply means that Christians and Jews also have responsibilities.

As the journalist Joseph Facal puts it, not all Muslims are guilty but all are responsible. Adopting the posture of a victim is a strategy for shirking those responsibilities. (“enfermement dans une posture victimaire qui conduit à se défiler devant ses propres responsabilités.”)

RECOGNIZE THAT SECULARISM REQUIRES DRESS CODES.

Or do you want police and judges to wear collanders and niqabs?

It is unacceptable for public servants—especially those with coercive power such as police, judges and prison guards—to display blatant symbols of religious or political affiliation while on duty. To allow such aberrant behaviour has nothing to do with “rights”—rather it amounts to granting a privilege to the wearers of such symbols and to their religion or ideology, a privilege which compromises everyone else’s freedom of conscience.

Face-coverings are even worse, as they are impediments to security and communication, among other issues. They should be forbidden for all users of public services, not just state employees on duty.

RESPECT QUEBEC’S CHOICES.

The Québécois have every right to choose laïcité without being vilified for it.

During the debate over Quebec’s proposed Charter of Secularism in 2013-2014, opposition to the Charter from Canada outside Quebec was ferocious and based largely on ethnic bigotry against Quebeckers, bigotry which is often called “racism” (although inaccurate here, because French-speaking Québécois constitute a nation, not a “race”). When the PQ goverment was defeated in the provincial election of April 2014 and the Charter thus died, the defeat was because voters rejected the PQ’s sovereignty option, not secularism. Polls show that secularism remains very popular among Quebeckers, and their secularism is more in line with the modern republican tradition of laïcité which is obviously superior to the lame 17th-century Lockean pseudo-secular tradition which is dominant in English-speaking countries and remains so, largely as a result of anglo-ethnocentrism.

(This tension was also very evident during the recent burkini controversy. More on that in a future blog.)

ABANDON YOUR CHILDISH INFATUATION WITH SAINT JUSTIN TRUDEAU.

Justin Trudeau is as anti-secular and as shallow as Pope Franky. Like the pope, his strength is in dishonest self-marketing.

Trudeau opportunistically courts the votes of various religious communities by flirting with very dubious Islamists (with ideological affinities to the Muslim Brotherhood) and with fundamentalist Sikhs.

Trudeau insults gays and women by marching in gay parades and claiming to be a feminist while continuing to be very chummy with religious fanatics who practice gender segregation and oppose gay rights and gender equality.

Trudeau slanders secularists by lumping us all in the same category as a bigoted con-artist like Donald Trump.

To criticize Trudeau does not imply support for his adversaries and enemies. That would be falling into the trap of what I call the “binary fallacy” and which Wikipedia calls “False dilemma”.

REJECT THE REGRESSIVE LEFT.

Western women who wear the veil contribute to the subservience of women elsewhere in the world for whom wearing the veil is an obligation.

The regressive left uses specious accusations of “intolerance,” “xenophobia,” “islamophobia,” etc. to deflect or silence legitimate criticism of religions and multiculturalism.

Secularists must explicitly reject the odious influence of the regressive left which Wikipedia describes as “a section of left-wing politics which is accused of paradoxically holding reactionary views due to tolerance of illiberal principles and ideologies (such as extremist Islamism) for the sake of multiculturalism and cultural relativism.” This accusation is certainly valid in light of the behaviour of many leftist and centrist Canadian politicians, the most noteworthy being Justin Trudeau who, for electoral advantage, regularly panders to various religious communities (such as Islamist and Sikh) which tend to be of the fundamentalist variety.

It is shameful how Trudeau and his ilk present the wearing of the Islamic veil as some sort of victory for women’s rights when in reality it is precisely the opposite. Remember the admonition of Mona Eltahawy, author of “Headscarves and Hymens”: western women who wear the veil contribute to the subservience of women elsewhere in the world for whom wearing the veil is an obligation.


Next blog: False Memes from the Burkini Wars

Dubious Words

2016-05-11

After my previous blog which dealt with words which should be used more often, this blog lists dubious words which should be used with caution, or never used at all, and which should be met with suspicion when used by others. These terms are often tendentious, i.e. they tend to propagate an underlying ideology while at the same time hiding that ideology. The most important of these is of course the dreaded and utterly dishonest accusation Islamophobia.

Terms to be Avoided Entirely

Sommaire en français Tandis que mon blogue précédent traitait de termes que je suggère pour un usage plus fréquent, celui-ci comporte une liste d’expressions que je considère douteuses, qu’il faudrait plutôt éviter ou utiliser avec précaution, et qui devraient inspirer de la méfiance si utilisées par les autres. Ces expressions sont souvent tendancieuses, c’est-à-dire qu’elles ont tendance à véhiculer une idéologie sous-jacente, tout en obscurcissant celle-ci. En tête de liste se trouve cette accusation redoutée et malhonnête, islamophobie.

The following expressions are very tendentious, i.e. each is implicitly or explicitly partisan and prejudiced, transmitting a preconceived notion or deliberately confusing. Thus, they should never be used, or should be used with extreme caution as explained for each term. When any of these terms is used by others, the speaker should be challenged either to change their vocabulary or to explain their usage.

  • Islamophobia:
    This term must be avoided for reasons which are well known and have been explained by many commentators. It is used by Islamists and their objective allies to censor and silence any criticism of Islam. It confuses two distinct concepts: criticism of Islam (which is necessary and desirable) and prejudice against Muslim persons. And the suffix -phobia suggests that fear of Islam is irrational, which is certainly not true in general. Indeed, anyone who does not fear radical Islam is a fool. Generally speaking, anyone who uses this term as an accusation against others is either a partisan of fundamentalist Islam or Islamofascism, or a dupe of these ideologies. For further information, follow this link: Islamophobia
  • reasonable accommodation:
    This term is almost always used as an excuse for religious privileges granted by state institutions, dishonestly implying that such demands are reasonable. To be honest, it should be replaced by the expression religious accommodation; such accommodations are never reasonable.

Terms to be Used With Caution

The following expressions are also tendentious but are sometimes used legitimately. Thus they should be used with caution, being careful to explain precisely what one wishes to say. Similarly, when others use such language, we should insist that they explain themselves carefully.

Multiculturalism is the main impediment to secularism in Canada, more harmful than any one religion, because it reinforces the influence of religion in general by treating it as essential to personal identity.

  • multiculturalism:
    This used to mean cultural diversity, but it has evolved into an ideology based on cultural relativism and should be called “ethno-religious determinism.” Multiculturalist ideologues tend to view religious affiliation as if it were an innate, immutable attribute of the individual, and this attitude leads inevitably to religious privilege. Multiculturalism is the main impediment to secularism in Canada, more harmful than any one religion, because it reinforces the influence of religion in general by treating it as essential to personal identity.
  • interculturalism:
    An ill-defined alternative to “multiculturalism.” It should imply a reciprocity of responsibilities between the host society and any minority culture, where the latter must also adapt to certain core values of the former, while “multiculturalism” is one-way, i.e. the host society must accommodate all others. However, in the absence of a clear definition in legislation, “interculturalism” may simply degenerate into a vague synonym of “multiculturalism.”
  • diversity:
    A much overused term, almost always meant positively, like a marketing buzzword for multiculturalist ideologues. Yes, biological and cultural diversity are generally good things, but not in all situations. Introduce a highly aggressive or predatory species into a diverse ecosystem, or introduce an extremely intolerant “culture” such as a radical monotheistic ideology into a culturally diverse society, and the added diversity may be very destructive. A diversity of opinions may generate creativity—or it may be harmful if several of those opinions are patently false.
  • racism:
    Often misused as a completely specious, false accusation—in particular when discussing religion—and operating as a form of censorship. A religious group is not a race, so the word is inappropriate. For example, the word “Jewish” describes both an ethnic group and a religion, which to be fair must be distinguished, and one way to do that is to use the word “Judaism” when referring to the religion and reserve “Jewish” for the ethnic group. Another example: Donald Trump’s paranoid hostility toward Muslims is not racist, because Muslims are not a racial group; rather, it is anti-Muslim bigotry. (However Trump’s attitude towards Mexicans can legitimately be called racist because nationality and race are closely related.)
  • inclusive:
    Another overused term, a marketing buzzword for multiculturalist ideologues. Its purpose is to imply that those who support secularism and criticize multiculturalism are somehow intolerant and exclude some ethno-religious groups. This is a big lie. On the contrary, secularists insist on preventing the religious, especially fundamentalists, from advertising their ideologies in the public service. No-one is excluded except for those who may deliberately exclude themselves by refusing to comply with rules which apply equally to everyone.
  • For Canadian multiculturalists, asserting one’s identity as a conservative Muslim is cool, but asserting one’s identity as a secular Québécois is “xenophobic.”

  • identity politics:
    Another term overused by multiculturalist ideologues to denigrate secularists. In fact it is hypocritical, because multiculturalism promotes the assertion of ethno-religious identities to the detriment of one’s status as a citizen, and it is this shared status which is important for secularism. For Canadian multiculturalists, asserting one’s identity as a conservative Muslim is cool, but asserting one’s identity as a secular Québécois is “xenophobic.”
  • politics of fear:
    Another buzzword used tendentiously, as if fear were always a bad thing. On the contrary, it is rational and necessary to fear radical theocratic ideologies. Complacency can be worse than fear.
  • open secularism:
    A near-synonym of multiculturalism, a pseudo-secularism, incompatible with secularism. The word “open” means that the state is open to religious interference. So-called open secularism is an attempt to block secularism by replacing it with a pale imitation thereof. See: Secularism: Lockean and Republican.
  • hate:
    Often used in expressions such as “hate propaganda” and “hate speech” but, like all human emotions, this term should probably be avoided in a legal context. What should be criminalized is speech which encourages or threatens violence. Hatred is not always bad, and it may be partly or totally appropriate. Do you hate Naziism? What matters is not hatred or love or whatever, but rather how such emotions are expressed, towards what target they are directed and whether or not they are supported by reasoned argument.
  • racialized:
    The apparent purpose of this term, when used in a religious context, is to allow the speaker to continue confusing religious affiliation with race, in order to rationalize unfounded accusations. Those who criticize Islam are sometimes accused of “racism”—usually by the same people who throw around specious accusations of “Islamophobia.” Such accusations are false because a religion is not race. The accusers, when confronted with this observation, then change tactic, saying for example that Muslims constitute a “racialized group” thus attempting to rationalize continued use of the term “racism.”
  • religious obligation:
    There is no such thing. See: false obligation and The Myth of Religious Obligations.

Next blog: The Extended Weinberg Principle