From the Standpoint of Eternity

Last week we posted videos of two rebuttals from an Oxford Union debate on the question of whether Islam is a peaceful religion. The second video recorded the rebuttal by Daniel Johnson, who eloquently expressed the case against associating the words “peace” and “Islam”. In his speech he mentioned Standpoint, which he described as the “not very right-wing magazine” that he edits.

Unfortunately, Mr. Johnson seems not to be as pleased as I was to discover the convergence of his liberal perspective with the conservative one that is generally expressed in this space. This morning we received an email from [name removed at the Web Editor’s request], the Web Editor of Standpoint:

Hi there,

I’m contacting you on behalf of my editor, Daniel Johnson. You posted a video of his speech at the Oxford Union on your site and he feels uncomfortable being associated with your site. Please could you take the video down?


[name removed at the Web Editor’s request]
Web Editor

[mailing address redacted]

Needless to say, I was unwilling to remove Mr. Johnson’s inspirational video from our site. I sent [the Web editor] the following reply:

Mr. [name removed at the Web Editor’s request],

Thank you for getting in touch.

I regret that I am unable to comply with your request. Mr. Johnson’s contribution to the Oxford Union debate was very inspiring, and has been quite popular at Gates of Vienna, since it agrees exactly with our own positions. I would be doing a severe disservice to our readers if I removed it.

Given that the video was made available via YouTube for embedding by the general public, I see no reason to take it down. I’m frankly mystified that your magazine would want me to do so, since our embedding of it increased the video’s number of views, and our link to Standpoint helped boost your magazine’s search engine rankings.

I’m also perplexed that your boss feels “uncomfortable being associated with [our] site”, given that his views so closely align with our own. Surely he meant what he said in the debate…? If so, there is no meaningful distinction between his opinions about Islam and those of Gates of Vienna. From the standpoint, as it were, of the Counterjihad, he is “one of us”.

Perhaps he was made uncomfortable by being associated with a website that has been called “one of Breivik’s mentors”. If so, his response inadvertently provides fodder for those who use traditional guilt-by-association tactics to slander their ideological opponents. A man of his stature and experience must be well aware that caving in to such heinous behavior only serves to damage the cause of free speech, open political discourse, civil society, and the rule of law.

The policy of Gates of Vienna has always been that civilly conducted, vigorous, open debate is the most effective way to preserve our freedoms and our democracy. Therefore I will post your request at our blog (after removing identifiers such as your email address, physical address, and phone number), along with my reply to you and any response you care to send to me later today.

I appreciate your writing to us. It’s always good to hear from our colleagues in Britain.

Since it is now bedtime in Britain, and no reply from Standpoint has appeared in our inbox, I have published the exchange as it exists thus far. If any additional response arrives from either of the editors, I’ll put up a separate post about it.

If I had heard back from Mr. [[name removed at the Web Editor’s request], and if he had confirmed my intuition that Mr. Johnson feared to have his name associated with Breivik, “neo-Nazis”, “fascists”, “racists”, etc. (which fear is a symptom of a disease I call the “Screaming Nazi Heeber-Jeebers”), then when I wrote him back, I might have said something like this:

It’s quite understandable that your magazine would be loath to find itself associated with any person or group that is identified as “racist” or “bigoted”. We have been through the same process ourselves, being smeared as “xenophobes”, “hate-mongers”, and the like. We have been falsely identified as associates or admirers of people and organizations that we want nothing whatsoever to do with, ideologically or otherwise.

I know from experience how unpleasant it is to be “shunned and shamed” by one’s former peers. Ostracism is very hard to bear up under — that’s what makes it such an effective means of social and political control.

Yet from time to time, in the thick of all these travails, it’s instructive to back off a bit and take the long view of the situation. Sub specie aeternitatis, your magazine and our website are all but indistinguishable from one another in our respective philosophies. Both treasure free expression, vigorous debate, open dialogue, and the traditions of Western culture. Both promote humane understanding, a tolerance for a diversity of opinions, and respect towards reasonable people with whom one disagrees.

To paraphrase Daniel Johnson’s words from his own speech: I do not want our public forums to become a place where academics are intimidated. I do not want free speech to die.

Gates of Vienna was cast into the Outer Darkness of public discourse some years ago. It was not a fate we would have chosen for ourselves. Still, it has its own pleasant surprises — such as the discovery of how many good and learned people have been relegated to the same darkness with us. We realized that we were in good company.

If, God forbid, Standpoint should ever be put beyond that particular pale, keep an eye out for our little fire in the midst of the general gloom. Stop on by; we’ll fix you a cup of tea.

26 thoughts on “From the Standpoint of Eternity

  1. Pingback: Links and news for July 17 2013 – 2 | Vlad Tepes

  2. Ah the fear the Left engenders in those whose spine has been deformed from years of trying to ‘fit in’ while remaining straight and true to one’s principles. It couldn’t be done during the last Inquisition and it can’t be done in this one.

    Standpoint, eh? Sounds closer to Crawlpoint – i.e., another case of talking the talk whilst beating a hasty retreat when it’s time to walk tall. Otherwise why the strange email-at-one-remove? Does this Johnson fellow so fear any direct contact with our racist cooties that he has to have someone else write his request to you instead of sending the thing himself? Does the all-seeing eye of Prism (or whomever) make scary shadows on the wall?

    Oh, wait. There’s another possibility in this: we are on record with our support of the EDL’s right to free speech and their demand to be taken at their word instead of being tarred by the UAF’s bigot brush; it’s that big Class Chasm in Britain, the kabuki theatre where purported ‘anti-fascists’ act like the fascists they really are.

    We have the same phenomenon here, too, but in another form. It’s an out-loud in-your-face-form, according to our president. We’ve learned to call it the Chicago Way, though it’s really just the ghost of Saul Alinsky being channeled via our president.

    So what do you think? Maybe it’s their fear of Tommy Robinson rather than their trepidation about Breivik? Or did we lose something in that transatlantic cable??

  3. I’m sorry indeed to hear that Mr. Johnson wishes not to be associated with Gates of Vienna. When I watched the video of him last week I was impressed with his passion in speaking the truth about Islam, and I might have left a comment or two on some sites to the effect that the Counterjihad could use someone like him.

    Now this … what to think? Did he not mean what he so eloquently said? Has he had second thoughts? Gates of Vienna has always been an upstanding site of high quality articles and reasoned comments—perfectly in tune with what I thought Mr. Johnson was saying.

    Although the Breivik smear that was outrageously tacked onto this site might account for Mr. Johnson’s reluctance to be associated with it (although surely someone of his obvious intelligence would not be so easily fooled), I sadly fear that it’s the EDL connection that’s done it. The fear that Brits have of any possible association with “racists,” especially those from the working class, no matter how unjustified the label, is paralyzing and, as we see here by Mr. Johnson’s request it must be soul destroying too. He has evidently chosen to sacrifice his integrity to maintain his class superiority. Unless Mr. Johnson can tell us otherwise, that’s what I feel has happened here.

  4. It may be fine, to tell one’s friends the ills of Mohammadism, but have it overheard in Tehran, does not make a pleasant taste, for the intelligent may reason, while the barbarians will waste.

    For a debate among Oxford Fellows has to have a naysayer, as a court has it’s prosecutor, a theorem it’s proof. The evidence is in the whole and not just a Founding of the Falls. That so well a job done surely, must reflect this honest toil of counteracting huge favours heard inside these priv’d halls.

    And without a government that has interest in it’s citizens, except the brave new world of the proletariat risen, your loneliness is not wished for shared with the passing of a revert from such socialistic hues to a single identifiable Master and his Given; of a reality well witnessed and unremarked upon the news.

    So my deed was done, the light was shone, and oh such fun, but life goes on.

    One dictator or another, as beggars to brother, as Boris to a mother, we’ll always peal each other.

    So tone it down, we lost the Crown, Islam’s in town, I wear a Gown.

    Most boast, host lost (as we say in awxford). May I leave the room now?

      • . . . and ungrammatical incomprehensible gibberish. Or has English changed to become more politically correct?

        On topic: Standpoint may just be another red herring to sweep IP locations for future investigation by TPTB. I’m not ashamed to stand in the front line. I try hard in my town to show the “other face” of Islam, but the only response is to be accused of creating chaos by screaming “the sky is falling”. Oh well, when it finally does I’ll be vindicated, but it may already be too late.

        Thanks, CW, for a courageous and informative site.

  5. A very cultivated false indignation motivated by the secret desire to rehabilitate islam as a tool of social control, a buffer between them and the age old wrath of Audrey Rose.

    Creating their own little house of class war, bet they have the terms of surrender already penned in their back pockets should the “risk” become to great.

  6. Right-thinking people can still have wrong-headed ideas put there by those who wish to isolate and ostracize their political and cultural enemies. It takes real will to not backslide and maintain the narrative when the bullying begins. Mr Johnson may need to step back and see the game and how right-thinking people like him have been played into isolation where his only “friends” are those who vilify to separate him from normal others like him.

    The basic “sin” of GoV and similar counter-Troublemakers, is doing nothing more than drawing attention to the connection between the Troublemakers proclaimed beliefs and the Troublemakers violent acts. The biggest “sin” however, is the counter-Troublemakers accepts the 1400 years of evidence supported by Troublemakers’ own official Troublemakers Manual, that Troublemakers believe in making capital ‘T’ Trouble.

    God cut right to the chase; a wild ass of a man, his hand against everyone.

  7. This happened a couple of months ago by a Northern European writer, didn’t it? Some female professor that was horrified that you posted an article she wrote (not sure if I have that right)?
    And, as you say, I found this man’s rebuttal to be in complete line with what this site presents and what I think about the topic; Islam, a religion of peace…
    Here’s the problem; this man was willing to spend several minutes on camera debating this subject but… convey this to a high traffic anti-jihad website, well now that is just too risky.
    Better to marginalize the site and ask politely, which he did, to have his video taken down than to risk exposure.
    After seeing this video I went up on youtube and watched all the other debaters. It was pretty clear to me that the pro-Islam voices could not get past the inherent mysogeny in the “religion.” Never mind the chop off opposing hands and feet, or the hanging of men declared to be homosexual. I’ve been in this for over a decade based on female rights. Islam is slavery particularly for females.

  8. Now this is a concern. Here’s an articulate insightful person who seems simply to have been intimidated out of having anything to do with GoV. It is obvious that he has made no real effort to reseach the site and that he is indeed simply afraid of its reputation.

    It may bear fruit to consider Mr Johnson: exactly *who* has created that reputation which you find so repellant? Not those chaps across the aisle from you during the debate I ‘spose?

    Give him time to study the archives and surely he will see how he has misjudged us here. Let’s just hope he has the courage to act upon his discoveries.

  9. I’m actually rather heartened that arguments such as those posted here from the Oxford Union debate are being articulated by persons of the left (or at least persons of the far enough left not to want to be associated small government pro-right-to-bear arms Americans). It means that those arguments aren’t the sole preserve of the small government right-to-bear-arms Americans, but are filtering through to diverse demographics. The sad thing is that in these diverse demographics are people who can’t come together with others on the things on which they so clearly agree and maintain a polite agreement to disagree on other matters.

    • It would appear I was wrong, and that the only motivator for wanting the link removed is fear. Perhaps this is even better–the lefties wouldn’t mind associating with the ‘old’ counterjihadis as long as they didn’t think they were going to get killed (or perhaps arrested in the next anticounterjihad pogrom).

  10. Pingback: Normativ ”Guilt by association” och dess verkningar | Varg i Veum

  11. I too am sorry that Standpoint magazine has made this request. I’m a subscriber, and it’s a good magazine, defending freedom of speech (!) and pro-Israel. It also has articles by ‘left leaning’ people such as Nick Cohen and feminist Julie Bindel, both Labour supporters. Mr Johnson seems to have panicked, perhaps fearing that the magazine and it’s contributors may attract hostility from organisations such as Unite Against Fascism, or from vengeful individuals. On the other hand, Mr Johnson’s
    editorials frequently refer to the Jihadist threat in exactly the same way as can be found on GoV, for example:

    ‘Western civilisation still faces a long struggle to overcome the jihadist menace…’ (June 2011)
    ‘When George Galloway won the Bradford by-election with an Islamist campaign, it took the nation by surprise…..The intelligentsia ignored the irruption of religious fanaticism into domestic British politics for the first time in centuries’ (May 2012)

    and on President Obama :
    ‘The President’s guilt-inspired attitude towards Islam was set out in his Cairo speech 2009…..quoting the Koran, praising Islam’s record on ‘religious tolerance and racial equality’, apologising for colonialism and ending with the Muslim blessing ‘God’s peace be upon you’. Islamists everywhere drew the obvious conclusion that they had nothing to fear from America’ (October 2012)

    Will Mr Johnson now seek to rein in Islam-critical articles by contributors such as Melanie Phillips and Douglas Murray? I sincerely hope not, otherwise I’ll cancel my subscription

  12. After reading this post, I went and watched teh video, however Mr Johnson seems to be until the misunderstanding that Islam can be reformed in some way, by the adoption of the earlier abrogated verses. On this website you linked a speach by Alain Wagner was spot on with his assessment, perhaps Mr Johnson should have a good look at that speach rather than fall into the trap of false extremism thrown at places like Gates of Vienna.

    Maybe he should then read the story of that woman living in a Muslim dominated area near Paris, is GOV extremist fpor detailing that and most of all the failure of the people voted in supposedly to protect the people doing anything but.

    Mr Johnson produced a good speach, but I still think he does not quite get Islam, Alain Wagner does!

    • After reading this post, I went and watched the video, however Mr Johnson seems to be under the misunderstanding… that was a silly mistake, need more coffee…

  13. It is truly tragic that only those that have a respected public platform, like the Editor of a respectable MSM periodical or the illustrious podium of the Oxford Union debating society, feel they have an entitlement to express such views, whereas the rest of us seriously concerned citizens (including the EDL) find ourselves harassed, vilified, sacked, prosecuted, jailed and even killed for expressing similar opinions in the only ways available to us

  14. I’m subduing a hearty chuckle here. Perhaps Daniel Johnson did not personally make this request because it likely did not originate from him.
    Perhaps it is [redacted] who wants to distance “Standpoint” from this site because, as Dymphna states above, unlike Johnson, [redacted]’s spine isn’t quite up to the challenge.
    I so look forward to any response by either Johnson or [redacted], as it will be quite enlightening, if not entertaining to witness a new twist from this intellectual pretzel factory.

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  18. Pingback: The Oxford Union Debate on Whether Islam is a Peaceful Religion | The Counter Jihad Report

  19. This is how Islam wins, and subjugates entire nations. They use threats of violence so that educated, articulated and reasonable people will not put their head over the parapet and speak out. They then take over.

    I remember someone in a BBC interview from a demonstration (Robinson?) telling a few home-truths about Islam to the reporter. When they switched back to the studio the anchor woman looked like a stunned rabbit, she did not know what to say. There was fear in her eyes. Thus the BBC will NEVER be honest about Islam, and will rather sell the nation down the swanny than stand up for the truth.

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