I very rarely bother to fisk Leftist articles. It is much more interesting to spend my time looking at articles that endeavour to consider all the facts of a matter rather than looking at the very selective attention to the facts that characterizes Leftist writing. A reader has however drawn my attention to a typical bit of Leftist hate by Australian columnist Amanda Blair and offered some comments on it. I reproduce both the column and the comments on it elsewhere. I thought however that I might make a few comments in passing on the column myself:
Our wonderfully caring Amanda is unhappy with the way senior members of the Australian government have repeately told Australia's Muslims that they should shape up or ship out (See e.g. here). In response to that, dearest Amanda puts forward the hoary argument that since not all Muslims are the same we should consider them only as individuals and not as a group. That most Leftist discourse consists of NOTHING BUT talk about groups ("The poor", "Minorities", "Women", "Zionists" etc.) does not of course embarrass Amanda one bit. And according to Amanda's logic we should all in fact be struck dumb -- since all words in our language are words for categories. There are for instance large dogs, small dogs, black dogs and white dogs, tame dogs and fierce dogs so obviously we should not talk of dogs -- right?
Allowance should of course always be made in official policy for the characteristics of individuals (something that Leftists seem to find extraordinarily hard to do) but Prime Minister Howard has repeatedly done just that -- stressing that the problem lies with a minority of Muslims only, not with all Muslims. And yet it is of Mr Howard that sad Amanda is most critical.
What would you say about someone who was careful to speak slowly and clearly to someone who appeared to be of immigrant origin? Would you describe them as polite, considerate etc.? Amanda does not. When Mr Howard did that she made the very large leap of saying that it showed him to be a "little Englander". Since he is Australian, not English, that would appear to be a snide accusation of racism. The irony of the fact that the original little Englanders of the 19th century were radical opponents of imperialism is of course quite lost on our Amanda. She appears to be one of that fortunately rare but very amusing ilk who like to use big words and expressions without really knowing what they mean. She is, most probably, the product of a modern journalism education.
She also seems to be claiming that Australians are much less happy with their immigrants than are Americans. Since Australia has had for around 60 years now a policy of deliberately encouraging immigration -- something that only Israel could rival -- that is as fact-free as the rest of her diatribe.
To say any more about her pathetic outburst would, I think, be to take it far more seriously than it deserves. I have however interpolated into her text a few more comments in italics here. Note that the "caring" Amanda turns into the arrogant Amanda when she starts to talk about working-class Australians.
NO PLEASING THE LEFT
Among the most heated debates of the last 40 years has been the debate over Pope Pius XII and the Holocaust. What did he do when the greatest evil of his day engulfed Christian Europe? Was he "Hitler's Pope," as the name of a widely read book about him charged? Was he too reticent in speaking out against Nazism and the Nazi extermination of Europe's Jews? Was he perhaps even a Nazi sympathizer? Or was he in fact a great friend of Europe's Jews who did whatever he could to save tens of thousands of Jews, especially in Italy, opening up the doors of Church institutions to hide Jews?
It is not my aim here to offer an answer to that debate. But the attacks on Pope Benedict XVI may help shed new light on some of the motives for the attacks on Pius XII. It is true that we have always known that most, if not all, of Pius's critics were/are on the political/religious Left. But this no more discredited their critiques of Pius than the fact that the vast majority of Pius's defenders were on the political/religious Right discredited their defense.
But recently the critics have lost credibility. If the same people who attack Pope Pius XII for his silence regarding the greatest evil of his time are largely the same people who attack Pope Benedict XVI for confronting the greatest evil of his time, maybe it isn't a pope's confronting evil that concerns Pius's critics, but simply defaming the Church.
After all, has not Benedict done precisely what Pius's critics argue that Pius, and presumably any pope, should have done -- be a courageous moral voice and condemn the greatest evil and greatest manifestation of anti-Semitism of his time? Take The New York Times editorial page, for example. It is written by people who condemn Pius for his alleged silence and now condemn Benedict for not being quiet. According to the Times, Benedict will only create more anti-Western Muslim violence. But that was exactly the excuse defenders of Pius XII so often offered for why Pius XII did not speak out more forcefully -- that he was afraid it would only engender more Nazi violence. Yet Pius's critics have (correctly) dismissed that excuse out of hand.
(For a scholarly demolition of the scurrilous accusations against Pius XII, see here. Pacelli (Pius XII) was an Italian and there has long been very little antisemitism in Italy. In the early days, Jews were even prominent in Mussolini's Fascist party).
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