Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Justice for Pat Condell.

The face of New Atheism on the internet Pat Condell has come out in blind support - 'blind' as in ignorant of the implications - of the assassination of Osama bin Laden. Though it is hardly a surprise as Pat Condell has come out as a supporter of UKIP, which sheds some light on Condell's populist anti-theistic rhetoric as an extension of postmodern nationalism. It is the characteristic "You may!" quality of this brand of nationalism which is what makes it permissive. Only in the sense of "You may use the n-word because they use it!" Freedom of speech and expression become umbrellas to shelter racism, homophobia and misogyny. By his own admission he no longer believes in social justice, he has embraced UKIP and Daniel Hannan, making his anti-theism a cover for an effectively conservative outlook. Just like the majority of New Atheists, Pat Condell sees history as Progress and the only things that stand in the way of Progress are barbarous myths like Islam.

Take note of the language used in the video above. Condell mocks compensation and counseling early on before insisting that the aid to Pakistan be cut-off. How far does his commentary differ from Fox News? Apparently, Pakistan is living on "welfare" but can afford nuclear weapons and can't be trusted to hand over wanted terrorists to the country that has been bombing Pakistan for years now. It was under General Zia ul-Haq, a US-backed dictator, that began the nuclear weapons program in Pakistan. The US supported the program, it was hardly undertaken as a choice made by the Pakistani people. It is true that Osama bin Laden survived in Pakistan for so long because of institutional corruption, incompetence and sympathies with Islamism in the establishment. But the radicalisation of Pakistani Muslims was initiated by Zia ul-Haq in the 1980s as a way for him to legitimate his rule over the country.

As Noam Chomsky has pointed out the US has a history of habouring mass-murderers, like Luis Posada Cariles, and Orlando Bosch (who died just days before bin Laden), which the media forgets in it's criticism of Pakistan. Condell seems to acknowledge that the assassination was not justice, but he also seems to revel in that it was revenge. I wonder how Pat Condell would react if Iraqi commandos landed in Texas, shot George W Bush in the head, photographed the body and then dumped the remains in the Atlantic Ocean. After all Bush led the way for the invasion of Iraq in 2003, which was a war crime that has led to the deaths of over 1 million Iraqis. The Bush administration will never see a trial for the "supreme international crime" it indulged in with the enthusiasm of a child burning ants with a magnifying glass. Uncontroversially, the crimes of George Bush exceed the crimes of Osama bin Laden and yet Bush is not a "suspect" but the "decider" responsible for the millions dead, mutilated, displaced and dispossessed in Iraq.
We should also keep in mind that the same weekend the Obama administration attempted to assassinate Gaddafi as well. The method in that case was an air-strike against Gaddafi's compound. In that case it is also important to reverse the rationale as Alexander Cockburn has posited: "If a Libyan bomber had blown up the wedding couple and a goodly tranche of the British upper crust in Westminster Abbey under justification that the whole place and its human contents, down to the grandchildren, not to mention the hats, were fair game because Cameron was there." What would Pat Condell say if this actually happened? You can guarantee he would be throwing the word 'terrorist' and 'Muslim' around, just like the reactionary press would be. Even though the standards applied to Gaddafi do not apply to us, we can bomb whoever we like and everyone else can go to hell.

The natural bogeyman for Pat Condell are the liberal Left, who defend multiculturalism and political correctness which are contrary to his idea of freedom. For him the Left are apologists for evil because they oppose a ban on the veil, he has even lashed out at feminists over this. Naturally, the radical Right have taken an interest in Pat Condell and have tried to latch onto his videos in the past, which he has railed against in his usual contrarian manner. But it is no doubt that the nationalist populism of UKIP appeals to Condell, and many others, as a supplement for the weaknesses of liberalism. The problem is that the trajectory of the market is towards relativism, individualism and pluralism, this will inevitably undermine national pride, tradition and culture. The liberal doctrine of multiculturalism is partially a product of that tendency, the reaction against it is the need of the system to defend itself through recourse to nationalism and traditionalism.

Sort it out, Pat! You're no better than Enoch Powell, who wanted freedom from the EU and the end of the NHS but he also knew he needed someone to blame when the shit hit the fan. Here you are elated at the death of a wanted terrorist, the pursuit of whom has justified the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of people. Where is justice for them?

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