Perhaps I Can Suggest A Compromise?

DWQA QuestionsCategory: QuestionsPerhaps I Can Suggest A Compromise?
Isaac Canty asked 2 weeks ago

In some ways I agree with Ms Allen. Long ago I was shocked by a case (I think this happened in Oxford in the late eighties) in which a woman was raped after accepting a lift from a lorry driver late at night. I was outraged – still am outraged – to read that the rapist got off with a fine because of the woman’s “contributory negligence.” Are we animals, I thought, that anyone who makes themselves vulnerable becomes fair game? Are the laws suspended because a crime is easy to commit? It angered me that that this way of thinking seemed confined to rape. If a rich old woman is murdered by her daughter because the daughter wants to inherit no one says the old woman was guilty of contributory negligence because she foolishly trusted her daughter. If a rich old woman is murdered for her purse by a stranger who calls at the door no one says she was guilty of contributory negligence because she foolishly lived alone. So the misogynist view denounced by Amnesty certainly does exist. However I am not convinced that this view is nearly as prevalent as Amnesty is claiming. Before I explain why I think that, let me state my opinion: there is no pie chart. I see no contradiction between holding that the guilt of rape is not one whit lessened if the victim was drunk, or dressed in skimpy clothing, or has had many sexual partners – and at the same time holding that the woman in the case I mentioned was foolish. Being drunk in a city centre at three a.m. We should work towards a world where women were as free in fact as they are in law to go where they like, when they like and dress as they like – but that world does not exist at present. One way of working towards it is to have severe penalties for rape and to denounce the view that rape can be excused. I think my “there is no pie chart” opinion, or something like it, is fairly common. When doing surveys it often happens that none of the choices match what I think, so I just have to choose the least bad match. I note that the Amnesty press release spoke of “blame” whereas the poll questions quoted spoke of “responsibility.” There is a distinction. Personally, I don’t think it’s the right distinction to make. I don’t like the “pie chart” model for responsibility or blame, but many of the respondents may have been trying to get across the point that in one perfectly defensible sense of the word “responsible”, women should be responsible when it comes to the risks they take. Another point is that Amnesty’s questions spoke of women being “wholly or partially responsible.” The word “partially” covers a lot of ground. As I said, I don’t think that woman can be even 1% responsible for her own rape in the sense they mean, but a respondent who thinks she is 1% responsible is saying something very different from a respondent who thinks she is 80% responsible. Nowhere in the discussion in the Amnesty press release concerning the prevalence of rape did I see convincing evidence that Amnesty knew any better than the respondents how frequent rape is. There is no logical link between thinking rape very bad and thinking rape common. Nowhere in the Amnesty press release did I see evidence that what the organisation calls the “dreadfully low” conviction rate for rape actually represented injustice. If guilty men are getting off, that is bad – but if innocent men are getting off that is as it should be. In fact the whole Amnesty statement failed to engage at all with the possiblity of false accusations. That is a serious omission. Many people, including many women, will suspect the organisation of being irrationally unwilling to admit that there are indeed women who make false accusations. I had wanted to talk about that more, and about cases where consent was doubtful – but I’ve run out of time. Heirs of Hammurabi is a new blog similar in concept to Arthur Chrenkoff’s Good News from Iraq. The author says he didn’t have to look that hard for good news; he just picked up a few stories that floated by. He obviously knew another secret of appealing to me: historical parallels. I am glad to read that the coming election is shaping up to be more about issues and less about identity politics. For some reason my computer is showing some HTML-style instructions that I presume are not meant to be visible as visible. Never mind; it didn’t stop me reading. Sex, disease and blogswarms. I find this web page amusing. While on that, I know one or two people who could be described as “typography geeks” myself. These are normally techies who responded to the invention of the laser printer and home typography software that goes with it by becoming amazingly obsessive about getting their fonts and spacing absolutely right. The truth is that there are guys out there on the internet with amazing amounts of expertise, who could tell you a document was forged just by looking at it even if the forgers had gone to some trouble to get the fonts historically right, use old paper etc etc, rather than just printing something with Microsoft Word and photocopying it a few times. Even if the forgers of the memos had gone to some trouble, we would still have known conclusively that the documents were forged within hours, and this would have been the case without any conspiracy. But would we have been able to get the media to accept our conclusive knowledge? Remember that even as things stand, with the crude forgery done in the default setting of a modern word processing program, Mary Mapes got a large advance and some favourable coverage for her book saying that it was all true after all. This is assuming that they still used a computer. Why they didn’t find a 1970s typewriter and use that I don’t know. Or perhaps I do. I suspect that the forgeries were possibly produced by someone who doesn’t remember typewriters and believes that fonts were ulways proportionally spaced. This is making me feel old. Actually, I think the lead pick for forger was old enough to remember. The real mystery is why neither he nor Mr Rather thought of it. My pet theory is, as I said earlier, that the forger published his forgery before it was ready. As for poor Dan, hope distorted his judgement. He was too excited to think, hey, documents just didn’t look like that in those days. Or maybe he did think it for a moment then quickly snatched an explanation out of the air: maybe the Air National Guard had specially fancy typewriters because it was part of the military-industrial complex or something like that. Buckhead could have done what he did with far less knowledge than he had. What all his extra knowledge gave him was confidence to act quickly to raise the initial alarm. I didn’t rehash all this now purely to relive vicarious blogospheric triumphs. I was also thinking about sex. I was trying out various analogies to see if I could shed a little light on how a blogswarm worked, and it occurred to me that bloggers are like sperm and and breaking a big story is like fertilising the egg. In part it’s a matter of luck, but the lucky sperm had to be strong enough to make the journey first. That analogy isn’t quite right. For one thing, the egg doesn’t care which sperm connects but we definitely do want to connect a story with the right expert to confirm or deny it. A key part of the blogswarm is our knowledge that the right expertise is out there somewhere, probably in multiple locations. The problem in the past was that one couldn’t find the experts quickly, or get them heard, or get them talking to each other. Now the experts find the story. Another way in which the sex analogy does not quite work is that it has no place for cooperation between sperm. I think about it the idea of a swarm is, of course, also an analogy. It was just too obvious for me to notice. I sympathise with Mr Rather! Anyway, my second go at an analogy was that of the antibody. The various wrongnesses of the memo in Mary Mapes’ story came into the infosphere like an invading toxin into the body. Lots of antibodies fling themselves at the invader. By chance some of them have the right shape to lock onto it and neutralise it. The body “sees” what works and makes more of the successful type. That is better. As a good analogy should, this one leads to new thoughts. The body can become too good at making antibodies; becoming over-sensitive to certain harmless or near harmless proteins that would have been better left alone. Should we be worried by the equivalent possibility in blogging? Nah. As the saying goes, kill ’em all and let God sort them out. It just gave me the excuse to say that blogging is more like having an allergy than sex. John Weidner:We are ALL experts in some sort of document. There is some type of paperwork we handle so frequently that a crude forgery would be blatantly obvious to us. John’s line of thought was started by a post from Power Line that linked to Buckhead’s own explanation of how come he knew so much about typefaces. His detailed explanation ought to, but won’t, see off all the conspiracy theories being peddled by Mary Mapes and her supporters. I followed Rathergate in real time plus six hours. I knew something was up at the first mention of proportionate spacing. I immediately thought of the documents I had seen when I was in the Officer Training Corps while at university in the early eighties: typewritten, the lot of them. I have been saving the world with these guys. Allegedly, there are pictures, including at least one of me, but I can’t make the link work. UPDATE: the link to Brian’s photos works now. I am top left. This computer is getting up my nose. Not really. Perish the thought. Greetings, bitter foes! That’s what Angie Schultz said when she was in the Guardian, and what’s good enough for Angie is good enough for me, starting with her jokes. I don’t want to be picky, Angie, but are your frogs endangered? Nice Guardian-being Oliver Burkeman says I am much-read. I do not see how he can tell, seeing as my hit-counter has gone the way of all free hit-counters, but come the Day he shall be spared. Muslim servants of the Crown. Read this post at Albion’s Seedlings by Helen Szamuely arguing that Muslims once had “an honoured place in the narrative of the British Empire and Commonwealth” that has been supressed for different reasons both in the Indian subcontinent and in the UK, read the essay by Mihir Bose it links to, and above all read this comment by David Billington:The role models for the majority of young Muslims in Britain should be the non-conforming religious minorities who played such a powerful role in the British industrial revolution. It is true that these people were mostly Christian but they suffered formal discrimination until the 19th century. They were imbued with Enlightenment ideas about nature, science, technology, and progress and they played vital roles in the abolition of slavery and a raft of other reforms while leading lives of modesty and gangbang probity. Although they were active in proselytism abroad, they did not seek religious confrontation at home and tried instead to bear witness to their faith by example. As I said in the comments there, this type of role model offers something more positive than merely fitting in. Would you believe that when I started writing the post below I had intended to apologise for its brevity? I may be too busy to blog much or deal with email in the next few days. However I must say one thing: Never give up! There is always a way! Yes. If however you twiddle the dials the tension on your seam just won’t come out right because the fabric is too fine and slippery, do not despair and give your party trousers to the dog for a chew toy. Just sew it all by hand while watching The Two Towers on TV. Read the whole thing. No one could say that Patrick allows conventional wisdom to dictate his thought. The proposal he makes later in his post reminds me of those divorces one hears of where one partner screams, “I want a divorce!” as an opening salvo before presenting a list of demands and then is taken aback when the other says, “Righty-ho.” As such it has a certain immediate appeal. However I see difficulties. What about the non-Muslim population of those areas? What about the assimilated Muslim population, who would be put under the most frightful pressure? Once these enclaves were established how would their borders grow or shrink? The prospect of moving the borders by intimidation might appeal to both those inside and out. It’s not going to happen. However there is something about this idea that could be used in dilute form: obliging people to choose, to declare where they stood. For the last few decades the PC ethos has meant that there was no social penalty for British Muslims (and others) if they loudly announced their disloyalty. Meanwhile any member of an ethnic minority who said he was British and proud of it was mocked as a naive fool in the Guardian or Independent or scorned as a sellout in the ethnic press. In this atmosphere Hamza and those like him thrived. The thing that rankled most was that at the very same time there were severe social penalties for anyone who made the slightest suggestion that any British Muslims were less than whole-hearted in their patriotism. I approve of the introduction of citizenship ceremonies and oaths, even if the written test is a load of statist gibberish, as Michael Jennings (who is to take it soon) observed. People who have declared their loyalty tend to feel more of it. Of course these ceremonies only affect new citizens. However seeing new citizens take them is likely to have a good effect on some of our shakier old citizens, especially if the new citizens are the old citizens’ relatives. The difficulty arises when I ask myself exactly what level of obligation I had in mind when I spoke of “obliging people to choose, to declare where they stood.” A structure that explicitly differentiated between Muslims and non-Muslims would be an outrage. I don’t care if it has a differential effect on Muslims; assuming it was the right effect that would be the system doing its job. After the London bombs there is no point denying that a cloud of suspicion hangs over British Muslims at present. They would be the first beneficiaries of a system that dispersed the cloud. Alas, in this metaphor, cloud-dispersing and cloud-generating machines come in boxes that are hard to tell apart. ADDED LATER: Drat. Re-reading this I can see it sounds too much like I’m advocating compulsory pro-government rallies or something. Not what I meant. I don’t really know exactly what sort of loyalty-inducing structures I’m looking for, but they would come in two types or families. One would simply be increased social unacceptability for extreme anti-patriotism. The other type of measure would work in a way akin to the way that sales of council houses moved the political centre. People who had bought their council house damn well were not going to vote for anyone who proposed to take it away from them. Or the way (effective politics, much as I loathe it) that the growth of the public sector has created a new class of public employees who will not vote for anyone who proposes to shrink the state. Although in this context I’m not talking about changing the way people vote, that is the sort of mechanism that might work: creating a constituency of self-declared Muslim pluralists. Muslim pluralists to self-declare. Scroll up to see some more optimistic thoughts about Muslims in Britain, courtesy of a link to Albion’s Seedlings. In this post regarding the recently defeated proposal to allow detention without charge of terrorist suspects for 90 days, I said that if we didn’t need those powers in 1940 we don’t need them now. Partrick Crozier writes:We did need (well, certainly use) internment in 1940. Enemy aliens were interned. When asked whether to include Jews and opponents of the Nazi regime, Churchill replied: “Collar the lot”. If a terrorist enemy can find refuge amongst the native population or a significant part of that native population then internment is an essential (though not by itself sufficient) component in eventual victory. I would be delighted if you or your readers could find a compelling counter-example but I suspect they will be searching in vain. The general question of whether internment has or has not worked in our various wars is too big for me to discuss on a Saturday morning. I will stick to World War II. I distinguish between the World War II internment and current proposals for the suspension or dilution of habeus corpus in several ways. 1) There was a war on in 1940. Hitler was in the process of conquering Europe and had the serious intention of conquering us. I am a supporter of the War on Terror, but it isn’t the same. 2) Those interned in 1940 were foreigners, enemy foreigners to boot, not British citizens. Glenn Reynolds is always going on about how much more likely the US is to start falling down the slippery slope when it dilutes the rights of citizens, and he’s right. This is not to say that non-citizens are intrinsically less valuable human beings; it is a matter of the implied contract between government and citizens. 3) Apart from Churchill’s bad-tempered outburst the British government never denied that most of those interned in 1940 were innocent. Contemporary propaganda was at pains to stress this point (I can’t remember it exactly, but I think that the scene towards the end of The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp where the nice German, Theo, is interviewed by what we would now call an immigration officer who says something like “these measures are for your protection as well as ours” is an example of the arguments used. Not that Churchill liked the film! 4) Did WWII internment actually do any good? Many of the accounts written nowadays are infected by a politically correct desire to make the British (or US) governments look bad in any circumstances, and take no account of the real dangers Britain faced or of the fact that the British authorities, being neither telepathic nor clairvoyant, could not know which dangers were real and which not. However, as I’m sure you know, the British policy of general internment of enemy aliens was eventually dropped, partly as a result of the torpedoing of the Arandora Star taking internees to Canada. The fact that the British government did not pursue the policy implies that they concluded that on balance it was not assisting the war effort. The German espionage network in Britain was never very successful anyway, but the accounts I have read do not suggest that it was much disrupted by internment. Can anyone supply the author and title of a history book for kids we have heard about? It was written quite recently by a father who became concerned that his children knew plenty of historical factoids but but had no sense of what happened after what. So this book is strongly chronological. As an extra bonus at the back of the book there are the lyrics of all those patriotic songs that everyone is supposed to know but doesn’t any more. Talking of blegs, Michael Jennings has enquired what “modern studies” is, although not in those exact words. UPDATE: Tim Worstall (who is tons better looking than Paul Krugman) names the book. And those were bombings which were primarily targeted at the small remaining Jewish community of Morocco. Now imagine a demonstration by English trade unionists for the synagogue that got torched and the Jewish cemetries that got desecrated like that. Imagine a demonstration in Argentina for the justice that still eludes the victims of the Islamist bombing that killed so many when the Buenos Aires Jewish Centre was bombed. But this was a demonstration just a few days ago by Muslims in an Arab country. UPDATE: Read the comments discussion about when and if countries should attempt to integrate Islamist political parties into the body politic, too. And read the post above about narratives. Avoid the one about mannequins. F S Oliver, Ordeal by Battle, quoted by John Terraine in The Smoke and the Fire. A Jacobite plot. Today is Buy Joanne Jacobs’ book day. I did. It’s all part of a plot to drive up the Amazon rankings. I bought Tim Worstall’s Blogged too, but not as part of a Timmite plot. Ancient liberties. Here is Nick Cohen writing on the un-Englishness of torture. Sir Edward Coke, Bodin’s English contemporary, was adamant that “there is no warrant to torture in this land”. He meant in the common law courts. It could be authorised by the monarch or the privy council, and practised under the royal prerogative by the Court of Star Chamber. James I had to sanction the torturing of Guy Fawkes personally. If his interrogators did put him on the rack, they would have done so in the Tower, which held the only rack in England. I found this article via Google. The author is concerned to defend King James for reasons linked to the King James Bible. He makes the valid point that whatever the common law said, the “exceptions” authorised by Royal Prerogative or Star Chamber were not in fact that exceptional, and that Sir Edmund Coke himself authorised at least one of them. Nonetheless “no law to warrant tortures in this land” is a tradition worth preserving and celebrating, and the celebration will help the preservation. But Cohen’s article is honest. He also says,If the Lords go against the government, all evidence from, say, Egypt will be inadmissible because the Egyptians may have used torture. The result will be a paradoxical inversion. The authorities will be able to deport a harmless Egyptian cabbie who came to Britain as an economic migrant, for breaking immigration rules. But they won’t be able to send back a member of Egyptian Islamic Jihad as he “may” be tortured on return. If there is evidence from Egypt that he is plotting an attack on the Underground, they won’t be able to use that against him either because it “may” have been collected by torture. In other words, the greater the alleged threat a foreign suspect poses to the country, the harder it will be to deal with him. It seems to me that the problem lies in the way that whole countries are either declared free of torture or declared to be torturing countries. Judges must do their job and judge individual cases. On a similar theme, the MPs whose votes defeated government’s proposal to grant itself the power to hold terrorist suspects without charge for 90 days are worthy of their predecessors. Many observers, including plenty of bloggers who I generally agree with, say that the length and complexity of terrorism investigations that must cover several continents and deal with foreign languages and information held on computers are so great that ninety days is needed. Cliché it may be, but if we let the terrorists erode our liberties they will have won. I don’t mean “have won spiritually” or anything wishy-washy like that, I mean that it is the conscious aim of terrorism to make the authorities repressive. If we could do without this in 1940 with Hitler at the door we can do without it now. 90 days? We can’t afford to go that slowly. Parkinson’s Law would apply here: if the police had ninety days to play with, ninety days they would take. If anything could have persuaded me, that would have. Perhaps I can suggest a compromise? A great deal of my opposition to this proposed measure stemmed from the fact that it could and would be applied far beyond its original purpose. My husband suggested that if we must take extraordinary measures it would be better policy to revive the Act of Attainder. At least the accused was allowed to present evidence, provide witnesses, and speak before both Houses during the proceedings. UPDATE 12 Nov: Patrick Crozier raised the issue of the internment of enemy aliens in 1940. Scroll up to see my response. I see them here, I see them there, I see yankee war crimes everywhere. Yankee war crimes in the Independent – read Scott Burgess on the White Phosphorus Scandal that rose into the sky like an illuminating flare, appropriately enough, and just as quickly sank. What struck me most about this article when I had stopped laughing long enough to read it was its reliance on cheap stunts. Monibot does give you that impression. He doesn’t keep it up because he can’t. With a certain reluctance he turns to his actual, quite different complaint in the next few lines. Deciding properly does not mean reversing the decision, and it certainly does not mean imposing the court’s own decision. Once again, pretty basic and mainstream stuff, unless you happen to believe that unelected judges should usurp the functions of all other arms of government. There were aspects that I did like to Liptak and Glater’s article. For instance,Judge Alito was appointed by the first President Bush. Academic studies of dissenting opinions generally predict that judges appointed by Republican presidents will dissent more often in cases in which both of the other judges on three-judge panels were appointed by Democratic presidents. But Judge Alito does not follow that pattern: he dissented in 4 cases in which both of the other judges were appointed by Democrats and in 26 in which they were both appointed by Republicans. This factoid does contain real information that helps the reader to place Alito ideologically. A scholar to the end. This Samizdata post by Findlay Dunachie on the subject of Trafalgar was the last he ever wrote. He knew that his life had only days to run when he wrote it. Read these words of farewell from Brian Micklethwait – and then, taking your time, peruse the “book reviews” category of Samizdata (Findlay Dunachie wrote most of them) and learn much. Trick or penny for the guy? Post about Halloween versus Bonfire Night over at Biased BBC. Italians have demonstrated against the Iranian president’s threats to Israel. I started to chug my way through what I thought was an account of the demonstration in La Repubblica:Together. Then it belatedly dawned on me that the report was in the future tense and was written to explain what was due to happen that evening. Never mind. It said that half the Berlusconi government, opposition parties, trade unionists, a delegation of ex-deportees, and Jewish and Muslim community leaders would be present to demonstrate contro l’odio, “against hate”. And so they were, and so they did. Michael Leeden writes on the same topic, and in English so it’s easier for me. Note the name of Magdi Allam, the Muslim deputy editor of the Corriere della Sera. I will try to make my next attempt at translation from Italian the editorial quoted by Leeden, in which Allam argues that if the Muslim world had recognised Israel’s right to exist the Palestinians would have their state by now. Is this reaction to the French riots typical? I found out about this one from “Ritter” in the Biased BBC comments. The “underprivileged youth” angle that the BBC took regarding the riots was predictable, but of equal interest to me was the very different reaction from readers of the BBC website. Some background: the BBC website’s Have Your Say feature, which used to function like a newspaper letters column, has now moved over to a forum structure. Readers can send in comments and recommend those of other people. My impression is that now that the published comments are no longer selected by editors (although they are still moderated) their average character has changed. When arranged in order of numbers of recommendations, the most recommended comments were overwhelmingly hostile to the rioters. I am well aware that comments fora can become skewed by a vociferous minority. This is particularly true when the forum is fairly new and may not yet have been discovered by a wider public. Another reason for questioning whether this response is typical is that being in English it will be skewed towards Anglophone respondents. There were quite a few Americans comparing, some with good grace and some with ill, the French view of the exaggerated accounts of mayhem in New Orleans with last week’s hitherto downplayed events in France. Furthermore it seems likely that more white than North African-descended Frenchmen and women will speak English well enough to wish to comment to the BBC. All good reason to wonder it if means anything at all. One way in which consensus opinion changes is when scattered individuals become aware that many others share their opinions. UPDATE 7 NOV: Also see this post. Jim Miller:And Americans should take no satisfaction in the French predicament, for there are close parallels here to all these phenomena. We learned the hard way that, first of all, our cities need law and order and that talk and dialog must wait until riots have been suppressed. We have learned, also the hard way, that welfare corrupts those who receive it. But we have still to grasp the danger of that combination of Islam and crime that afflicts France – and is beginning to appear here. That was from yesterday. In today’s post he links to an account by Viking Observer of similar riots in Denmark. I liked the urbane reply that commenter “zeppenwolf” made to an inflammatory remark by “CP”. Making it real” doesn’t always help. This post from Joanne Jacobs links to a report in Science Daily that says students were “more successful in applying what they learned to new situations when they were taught with abstract symbols rather than concrete objects.” In one of the experiments the subjects “were separated into four groups, each of which learned from a different set of symbols, from very abstract and simple to intricate photos of real objects.Gay porn bbc cum in mouth - psadoaz

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