Douglas Bastard's Rants of Rage

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This article was written on 26 Aug 2016, and is filled under Uncategorised.

The burkini ban and handing in my Left card

There now follows an opinion from a white, straight male about the burkini fiasco that is currently happening in France. Were you to be of a sensitive disposition, you would be advised to look away now, because I think I’m going to have a bit of a rant and it’s mainly at the Left, people nominally on my own side, who I’m going to take a shot at, because the cumulative idiocy of the past few days has been too much for anyone to bear.

First. The police forcing someone to disrobe. It’s self-evidently fascist and abhorrent to anyone who gives two shits about living in an open society. The idea that the state can decide what you do and don’t wear when you’re in a place as innocuous as a beach is openly insane and shows only that Hollande is coming under pressure to be a reactionary halfwit from Marine Le Pen, a person who has all the shining personal qualities of an unusually venal lizard.

Enforcing anything as anodyne as not wearing an article of clothing is doomed to failure. The seat belt law is fine, because it reminds idiots to wear them when they might otherwise be pulped to red mush, and taking your helmet off when you enter a bank is fine because it avoids suspicion that you may be about to rob the place. Banning religious clothing is asinine because it invites defiance and is ultimately unworkable unless you become a police state. The burkini ban, however long it lasts for, is a sign of a country that is deeply ill at ease with itself and its place in the wider world.

Right. That’s out of the way. Second. When I see people arguing that they’re fine with women wearing burkas, I start to think the world has gone mad. The only reason why women wear one is to protect themselves from the male gaze, which I find fairly offensive as I don’t feel compelled to fall to the ground wanking each time a woman walks past or rape her. There are assumptions about male sexuality in the wearing of a burka that I dislike hugely, but also some assumptions about female sexuality, namely that the woman’s is in some way the ‘property’ of her husband.

The knee-jerk response of the left to something opposed by the right is, in turn, to support it, but this is pretty much where I get off the bus. When feminists are supporting people wearing the burka, a garment which advertises submission and bows to male sexuality, there is a severe and damaging disconnect. And you can share as many pictures of people in a burka smiling as you want, because I smiled when I had my breakdown, but inside I was horrifically and utterly broken. It proves absolutely nothing.

Do I want the burka or niqab banned? No. Not in any way, shape or form. If people want to wear it, go ahead and wear it. Where a choice is made freely and exercised freely, even if I happen to very firmly disagree it, I’m compelled to respect it. What other people choose to do, or don’t choose to do is none of my business because my responsibilities begin and end with me. And I don’t want to find myself sharing common ground with ‘people’ from UKIP or the French police, standing on a beach and making someone strip at gunpoint.

The protest yesterday in London, where people ‘wore what they wanted’ is as lazy and simplistic and it was derisory. If they protested against the social pressure that forces people to wear the burka? Fine. If they took issue with Western governments whose one-eyed war on Islam made people see wearing the burka as a ‘fuck you,’ I’ll start taking them seriously. Until then, no. They look like what they are: to wit, students and other misguided, young and silly elements of the selfie culture who wanted to take some pictures of themselves Doing A Thing.

If you turn a blind eye to coercion just to spite the opposition, then you’re no more in favour of freedom than I am a ham salad, but I see a lot of this in the Left. People rush to support whatever nonsense the right is opposed to, or vice versa, purely to thwart the others or wage war against themselves to prove who is the most left-wing. It’s this idiocy that led one branch of the NUS to say that Muslims are ‘more oppressed’ than gay people and that opposing shoving gay people off buildings is cultural imperialism.

Well, that’s utter nonsense. The Left is becoming a haven of sloppy, halfarsed thinking and the kind of lazy fuckwittage seen in the bubbleheads who protested yesterday. ‘Wear what you want, even if you’re told what you want by some idiot whose thinking hasn’t moved beyond the end of his dick.’ And no, this isn’t anti-Muslim bigotry. I feel the same about Christians lecturing women on what constitutes ‘modest’ clothing and saying that it’s causing them to slide into sin. No, it isn’t, you fuckwit. It’s you having no self-control and thinking with your balls.

But this is a nuanced argument. I dislike the idea of forcing dress codes on people, either secular or religious, so I find myself in opposition to both positions. And the Left doesn’t do nuance. It does vehemence, it does picking its side and supporting it. Suggest other ways of seeing and you’re placing yourself in opposition to it. Suggest that it professes the moral high ground but supports tyranny and their heads will explode. Don’t get me wrong. I abhor the Right, and would no sooner vote UKIP or Tory than I would eat my own head, but the Left have let me down and proved themselves fallible and fuckwittish in opposition.

My notional Left card is, therefore, ripped up. I want no part of the slipshod thinking which says that women being oppressed into wearing an item of clothing is fine if it upsets the right, the eternal bloody posturing to see who is most virtuous or the mental contortions it entails. Everyone deserves respect, everyone deserves love and nobody deserves to be shouted down or to have their opinion automatically disregarded, for all that it should sometimes be withheld if someone with more knowledge is talking.

There we have it. To the Left I’d say it’s been a fun twenty years, but you’ve now become a fairly grotesque parody of yourself and, like Jeremy Corbyn, who I’d like to shit on from a great height, more in love with striking a pose and sounding ‘right on’ than actually using your brains and thinking what the most effective strategy is. Worse, you’ve allowed people like Farage in and now they’ve got people’s hearts and minds. When he strode onto that podium with Trump, it marked the de facto end of any hope the Left had of appealing to anyone beyond the usual nodding heads. I’m following the smart money and leaving now. Best of luck tying yourselves in knots.

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